Against All Odds

The Decline and Resurgence of the Symphonic Film Score in Hollywood


  • Helen Mitchell University of Hull



Hollywood, symphonic film score


With the birth of sound film, the symphonic film score would begin a journey which would firmly entrench the symphonic score in Hollywood practice and parlance. On route, the symphonic film score would experience many highs and lows, reflecting changes within the film and music industries and also within society at large; changes compounded by the impact of new technologies. This article draws together a number of sources and presents an overview of the main factors involved in the decline and subsequent resurgence of the symphonic film score in Hollywood.

Author Biography

Helen Mitchell, University of Hull

Lecturer in Creative Music Technology Helen Mitchell read music at Edinburgh University, focusing on performance, counterpoint and composition. On graduating she was awarded the Fraser Scholarship. She completed a diploma from the London Guildhall School of Music and Drama before spending a further year specialising in solo performance and repertoire at Liverpool University. She studied the flute with Roger Rostrun (The Halle Orchestra), Richard Chester (The Royal Scottish National Orchestra) and Colin Chambers (The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra). In 1992 she was appointed "Professor of Flute and Saxophone" at the Royal Marines School of Music, a post which she occupied for six years, teaching at diploma level and performing in and around the South East. Following further postgraduate studies in music technology at York University, she took up her present post. Her current research interests focus on film music and sound. She is also interested in audiovisual interaction across a range of different applications. She continues to perform regularly in local symphony and chamber music groups.


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How to Cite

Mitchell, H. (2010). Against All Odds: The Decline and Resurgence of the Symphonic Film Score in Hollywood. Journal of Film Music, 2(2-4), 175–200.



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