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Marco Beltrami’s A Quiet Place: scoring 21st Century silent film

Marco Beltrami‘s score for A Quiet Place has the additional function of filling in the sonic gaps due to the film’s quiet nature.In celebration of International Women’s Day 2018, we have made an ILLICIT SOUND Playlist featuring ten incredible female composers.

 

Although not completely silent, John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place (2018) comes close to being the latest addition to 21st Century Silent Cinema. Set in a location invaded by aliens who hunt by sound, the Abbott family are forced to live in silence and mostly communicate through sign language. As a result, composer Marco Beltrami had the additional job of filling in the sonic gaps.


Incorporating a mixture of creepy synths and a discordant piano with traditional orchestral instruments, Beltrami has created a well-balanced score varying from gentle sentiments to teeth-gritting, nail-biting intensity. It’s at these moments of intensity where you can see why Beltrami was chosen, given his history of scoring such thrillers and horrors as The Woman In Black (2012/2014) and the Scream franchise (1996-2011).


This film stands alone from other Hollywood cinema due to this sonic theme. One of the first things you’re taught at Film Music School is that the listener is not supposed to hear the music. It should be unnoticeable. A mere support system of emotion which doesn’t skew the storyline. A Quiet Place, on the other hand, is different. This film solely relies on the soundtrack to help illustrate what the character’s are unable to say. Furthermore, due to the general low volume of the actions on screen, the music is the most prominent sonic feature, therefore it’s actually noticeable when the music stops.


Silence is often a powerful composing tool, but it has a particularly vigorous impact in this film. It is when the music stops that you realise just how quiet the Abbotts’ world is. Without the sound of chatter, the TV or radio, you can hear the world in its purest form. Some may find the idea boring, others inspiring.

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