Music for Television Music for Film, Radio, Television and Multimedia

Music has become a important part of how television is produced and considerable effort is put towards the music reflecting and supporting what is happening on the screen.

Take for example, the opening clip from The Biggest Loser:

Notice at the beginning, the mood of the music is somber, as the footage reflects on the plight of Tiffany and her weight. As the clip progresses, the and we see footage of Tiffany exercising, the music changes to that of a combat sound. This presents the idea that Tiffany is in a fight with herself to loose weight. A drum beat is added at approximately the 50 second mark which gives the music a strong pulse and reflects the sense of momentum in the story. Notice the reverse cymbal sound at the 1:26 mark which gives the sense of the end of one section and another to start.

Whilst many movies have instrumental accompaniments, and television dramas too, sometimes you'll notice that the 'popular music' of the target audience will be used to help create the scene (i.e., the Soundtrack).

Packed to the Rafters Promo - Song "Everything is Sound" by Jason Mraz:

A closing scene in Home and Away, pop song playing.

The comic genius of Mr. Bean. How is music used in this cartoon?


30-Minutes of Television! (Click on the button at the bottom of this section labelled: Bondi Rescue)

In class, we'll be looking at a single half hour segment of television - watch an episode of Bondi Rescue, which will include advertisement breaks.

Bondi Rescue airs during is prime time, and is screened on a commercial television channel. You will be given a sheet in class to make notes (attached below as timeline pdf if you need to download yourself another).

I want to you to listen and make notes EVERY time you hear any kind of music or sound effect in that half hour! For the ad breaks, they are not included in the timed part of the show so just write "Ad 1 " in the time column.

WHEN are the songs & musical effects played, admist all the action?

HOW is the music constructed?

WHY has the Director chosen the music he has?

WHAT effect does the chosen 'organised sound' have?

Any sound effects in there?

From our notes, we will compile a critical analysis concerning 'Use of Music in Television'.


Music in television (and film) is often divided into three categories, underscore, sound track ad source music

A reminder:


Original music written specifically to accompany action - usually instrumental, but can often use voices in an 'instrument-like' manner to create different TONE COLOUR. The use of original (often instrumental) music written specifically to accompany the action - called 'using an underscore'


the use of already popular music (with the vocal line left in, or out)

Source Music

the use of music from somewhere within the scene (eg. music playing on the radio in the car) - called 'using source music'

Happy listening!

Oce you have completed this, search through clips on youtube from tv shows and find your own example. Complete another Musical timeline sheet on your example and share your observations with the class.

Created By
Samuel Azon-Jacometti

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.