The movie Jaws was scary just for the opening sequence. This iconic movie gives insight into what made Steven Spielberg one of the most well-known directors in Hollywood, and also what makes the use of suspenseful music so powerful.
Despite being a classic, not all people know why this film is called Jaws. There are two possible explanations: firstly, that it's named after a dental clamp that looks like teeth (although there’s no evidence to support this), and secondly because sharks are often referred to as "the jaws of death".
The fact is that the Jaws movie was not only known for it's plot, but also its music score. Composer John Williams left a huge mark on this film and countless others with his magnificent pieces of music. This article will be about how Jaws has influenced writers and directors over the years by the use of emotion evoked from powerful music.
We all know what it feels like to have our hearts sink when someone we care about is taken from us. That is exactly what Williams was able to evoke when he composed the Jaws opening sequence. All of us experience these feelings every day but this is one instance where it’s brought to the forefront and actually makes us feel the fear. That's how powerful suspense can be!
We are all familiar with Steven Spielberg's name, but do you know who composed the music for Jaws? John Williams, in fact, is an American Academy Award winning composer. He first caught producer Richard D. Zanuck's attention in 1971 when he wrote a radio show that was broadcast on public service radio station WGBH in Boston for a program called First Person Singular. He then went to work for Universal studios as one of the newest composers in Hollywood.
When Williams was asked to compose music for Jaws , he was not very familiar with Steven Spielberg's work. However, Spielberg knew that he needed the perfect composer to create a soundtrack that would evoke an emotional response from the audience because he was going to be filming in a completely different way than anyone had seen before. This movie was going to be filmed from under water, as well as on land, and although it is not obvious when watching it, Williams needed to compose a score that could effectively represent this new style of filmmaking.
One of the main elements in this movie that made it so powerful was the use of suspense. Suspense is created by using music, changing lighting, or even just something as simple as a character movement. Spielberg and Williams knew exactly what they wanted and had to do in order to make Jaws into a classic and they succeeded. The score is not only frightening but also helps with the tension of each scene, creating a very unusual but pleasing emotional response from viewers every time they hear it.
The music for Jaws was not recorded live; instead it was composed first before being recorded to film through an electronic process called synchronizing (this was new at the time). This meant that the music had to be very exact and precise in order to work with the filmmakers' needs. However when the movie was released, some of the tracks had been sped up in places, which created an unusual and happy effect on certain parts of the film.