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Film Scores to Make Your Movie Stand Out

Explore PremiumBeat’s library of royalty free film scores to discover music that will take your movie to the next level. Use these tracks to add dimension and enhance your film’s overall emotional impact on the audience.

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Make Your Movie Memorable

The most beloved films of all time would likely not have had quite the staying power in collective memory if not for their captivating film scores. A film score has the power to aurally brand a film, offering it a sound all its own, so that when we think back on our favorite movies, we may actually hear a snippet of its memorable tunes in our minds.

Amplify Narratives

A professional, high-quality film score helps tell the story of the film. It enhances the sense of suspense in a psychological thriller, the emotion in a heartfelt drama, the excitement in an action flick, and more. PremiumBeat has film scores in a wide variety of genres so that you can quickly and easily find your perfect film score today.

Express Characters’ Inner Emotions

A film score can inform the audience of what a character is feeling in a given moment. If, for example, the character has a neutral facial expression, the tone of the song played alongside the scene will let viewers know what is happening internally. A sad, slow violin song will stir up very different emotions than a light, upbeat piano piece.
About film scores
What is the film score?
A film score is original music that accompanies a film. Back in the time of silent films, live orchestras played film scores alongside films in the theater. These days music is usually written by a film composer who is hired by the film’s director and producers. The composer may work with instrumentalists or use digital composition software to record the final tracks. Film scores dramatically affect the emotional impact a film has on viewers. Such music helps create and maintain the mood of a scene by pulling the audience into the action. A good film score will keep the audience engaged without distracting them from the visual content on the screen. It will also match the tone of a given scene. Soft music may accompany a scene in which a character is engaged in an introspective activity, while loud dynamic music may be played during a fight scene.
How to score music for a film?
To score music for a film, it helps to start with a simple melody. You want to create an original theme that musically captures the specific mood of the film. Keep the director’s vision in mind as you create. Read the script and discuss it with the director. Your score should help drive the story forward, drumming up excitement for a chase scene, sweeping the audience off their feet for the romantic climax, and so on. It can help to imagine that you yourself have entered the world of the film. What are the rules of this world? If the film characters are controlled by a strict government on a distant planet, for example, your musical choices may involve sharp, staccato instruments with jarring, eerie strings. Consider the cinematographer’s vision as well. This can involve studying the film’s lighting, color scheme, and editing style so as to ensure that your music fits in seamlessly as one of the film’s crucial components.
Who are some famous film score composers?
Some of the most famous film score composers include:

Hans Zimmer: This award-winning German composer has composed and produced the music for over 150 films. Interstellar, The Lion King, The Da Vinci Code, Gladiator, The Pirates of the Caribbean series, The Dark Knight Trilogy, and many more all owe their musical magic to this man.

John Williams: With 52 Academy Award nominations and 5 wins, Williams is the second-most nominated individual in the Academy’s history. He composed the soundtracks for the original Star Wars saga, Jaws, E.T., the Indiana Jones films, the first three Harry Potter films, among many others.

Philip Glass: American composer and pianist Philip Glass is considered one of the most influential composers of the late 20th century. He received Academy Award nominations for his minimalistic scores in Kundun, The Hours, and Notes on a Scandal.

Danny Elfman: This American composer has worked with directors such as Tim Burton, Sam Raimi, and Gus Van Sant to produce film scores for a variety of memorable films, including, Edward Scissorhands, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Spider-Man, Spider-Man 2, Good Will Hunting, and Milk.
What are the top film scores of the 21st century?
While the top film scores of the 21st century are largely subjective, certain film scores have been widely recognized as exceptional. Some of the top scores include:

The Lord of the Rings: Howard Shore composed sweeping music that tugged the heartstrings of fantasy lovers around the world. His joyful flute theme has become synonymous with those snack-loving Hobbits of the Shire.

1977’s Star Wars: In 2005, this score was selected by the American Film Institute as the greatest film score of all time. The Library of Congress entered the soundtrack into the National Recording Registry for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” John Williams composed the score.

Joker: In 2020, the Academy Award for best film score went to Icelandic composer Hildur Guðnadóttir. She was the first woman to win this award since 1997.

The Hateful Eight: The late, great Ennio Morricone won the Oscar for best original score for this Quentin Tarantino Western flick.
Where can I download film scores?
Many music platforms have film scores within their database. Try entering your chosen genre into a platform’s search engine to find the music that will match your film. To check out a wide variety of film scores, head to PremiumBeat’s powerful search engine. Select “Genres” and scroll down to “Production / Film Scores.” There you will find familiar film genres such as “Action” and “Horror,” as well as music-centered genres like “Cinematic” and “Orchestral Hybrid.” We tag our film scores with descriptive adjectives to help you find your ideal track more easily. “Building,” “Majestic,” “Hopeful,” and “Floating” are just a few of the key words you may want to search for when looking for epic, moving tracks. You can also choose to explore PremiumBeat’s royalty free film score section for a curated collection of cinematic music.

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How to use film scores:


Film score for short film

Short films are generally considered to be at most 50 minutes in length, with the average short film running just 20 minutes. When choosing a theme song of sorts for your film, consider the main instruments you want featured. Your intended emotional effect on the audience plays a crucial role here. For example, many people associate violin and other string instruments with a melancholic mood, so film scores that focus on strings may be appropriate if your story involves sadness, nostalgia, or heartache. You can search PremiumBeat by Instruments to find the songs that interest you. Explore until you find a powerful, evocative theme song for your film, one that captures the mood and tone of your story world, then play that song at key moments to clue viewers into the importance of the scene.

Cinematic music for film

There is a wide variety of cinematic music for film available out there. The film score you settle on will depend largely on the genre, mood, and tone of your film. Heart-centered human dramas can benefit from playing uplifting piano music to convey a sense of inspiration to viewers, while psychological thrillers and horror movies would be better off with eerie strings that raise the hairs on viewers’ necks. As you begin the process of choosing songs for your film, ask yourself which scenes would most benefit from the addition of music. An intro song played during the opening scene can help set the tone for the film, while a track played during a crucial plot point can help hit home just how important that moment is. You also have options regarding whether or not your characters hear the music or not. If a song plays within the world of the film and can be heard by the characters, such as a song on the radio, then it is diegetic music. The other, more common form of cinematic music is non-diegetic music, which is music that can only be heard by the audience.

Building a soundtrack for a film

A film soundtrack includes all the songs featured in a film. Building a soundtrack is a bit like creating a tasty dish. You want to be aware of the different ingredients and how you are combining them to craft a final product. A sweet scene may benefit from a light, lilting tune, while a meaty moment may demand a heavier sound. Each song you choose for your soundtrack will be part of the film’s whole, so they must work in concert with one another. Timing is key when it comes to the placement of your chosen songs. You want each song to enhance the scene in which it plays. If the scene is the most romantic one in the film, then a sweeping tune that tugs the audience’s heartstrings may be your best move. But if you play that epic, emotional track during a scene that comes early in the film, you diminish the impact that this later romantic climax could have on viewers.
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