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Film Studies Research Guide: Music & Sound in Movies

A guide to conducting research in Film Studies at Yale University, including key resources and crucial search strategies.

Music and Sound in the Movies

What's Here

The role of sound, sound effects and music in movies is a topic of growing interest. Below are some examples of how to search Orbis for materials on this subject, and a selection of reference materials.

The Music Library has most of the books on movie music at Yale.



Example Subject Headings for Searching Orbis



Selected Reference Materials


The American musical film song encyclopediaThomas S. Hischak. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press, 1999.

The complete index to British sound film since 1928. Ed. Alan Goble. London ; Melbourne ; Munich ; New Providence, NJ : Bowker Saur, c1999.

Encyclopedia of motion picture sound. Marty McGee. Jefferson, N.C.; London: McFarland, c2001.

Film composers in America: a filmography, 1911-1970. Clifford McCarty. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

Film music collections in the United States: a guide. Hollywood, Calif.: Society for the Preservation of Film Music, 1996.

Film Score Monthly

Film Score Monthly is a magazine about motion picture and television music. It focuses primarily on background music rather than scores. The website provides a supplement to their hardcopy magazine.

Film Score Rundowns

Cue-by-cue musical analysis of classic film and television scores.

Keeping score: film and television music, 1988-1997. Alvin H. Marill. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 1998.

Music in the Public Domain

A reference site to help the people identify music and songs in the public domain.

A research guide to film and television music in the United States. Jeannie Gayle Pool, H. Stephen Wright. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press, 2011.


SoundtrackNet aims to centralize Internet resources relating to the genre of film and television music.

Soundtracks: an international dictionary of composers for film. Stewart R. Craggs. Aldershot, Hants, England; Ashgate, 1998.

Warner Bros. sound effects library. 2 CD-ROMs. Warner Bros. Richmond Hill, Ontario: Distributed by Sound Ideas, 1992.


Director, Film Study Center