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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UC Berkeley chapter.

Across genres, visual and auditory storytelling are intrinsically linked. Continuous engagement with both senses at once serves as a connecting point between the media and the audience. I didn’t always notice just how impactful music is in film, but once it was pointed out to me, I couldn’t go back. The following are just a few examples of stories that are entirely unalike but are similar in that they both are furthered by the exceptional use of score in their narrative composition.

Star wars

Composer: John Williams, London Symphony Orchestra

Star Wars, the iconic space opera, was first released in 1977. Since then, it has gained notoriety and massive viewership worldwide. The score for Star Wars is acclaimed for its cohesion with the visuals on screen as well as the music’s impact on individual characters and scenes. The songs produced for the film feature a full symphony orchestra that helps draw out its full potential through inspiration from previously established composers.

The Grand budapest hotel

Composer: Alexandre Desplat

2014 comedy-drama, The Grand Budapest Hotel, won an Oscar for best original score. The score features a mix of sounds inspired by assorted European musical styles and gives the fictitious world within the Grand Budapest Hotel some geographical resemblance to the real world. The score is integral to the setting of the movie as well as the progression of the narrative and tone.

Lord of the rings

Composer: Howard Shore

Lord of the Rings is an epic fantasy trilogy based upon a book series that was released in the early 2000s. It has since become one of the most popular works of its genre due to its unique score that blends aspects of both vocal and orchestral music. The original trilogy has, in total, three academy awards for its score as well as three Grammy awards for best score soundtrack.

The success of the soundtrack lies in how it connects the viewers’ emotions with the environment. A film with a fantasy setting, such as Lord of the Rings, demands to be depicted through both immersive visual effects and music reminiscent of classical composers.


Composer: Hans Zimmer

The 2014 science-fiction movie, Interstellar, is set in a bleak dystopian future and its score takes an unconventional approach to auditory storytelling. It encompasses the feeling of isolation and vastness that surrounds the characters. In comparison to the typical score, Interstellar strays from a concrete structure and becomes intertwined with the narrative and tone of the movie.

spirited away

Composer: Joe Hisaishi

The 2001 animated feature, Spirited Away, features a score by one of the most prominent film composers in Japan. Through a compilation of emotional melodies, the soundtrack adds to the film’s fantasy and its primary purpose is to relay a certain mood to the audience. This is achieved through a range of instrumentals that fluctuate depending upon the scenes. It begins with “One Summer Day,” the sentimentality of the opening scene is portrayed through piano, then changes to more dramatic, suspenseful, and even humorous compositions.

Elyse Brown

UC Berkeley '25

I am a sophomore at UC Berkeley studying Sociology. I am a Junior Editor at Her Campus and I love to write poems, long fiction, and person essays.