Film Score vs Soundtrack What’s the Difference?

Film Score vs Soundtrack What’s the Difference?

When music is composed for a film its purpose is to heighten the emotional connection that is made between the film and the audience while supporting or complementing the existing visual representation of a scene. Film sound includes a variety of sounds that may include diegetic sounds, non-diegetic sounds, dialogue and music. Much of the sound you hear represents the film score and you may also hear it on the film’s soundtrack, but what’s the difference between film score vs soundtrack? 

If you’re wondering what the difference is between film score vs film soundtrack you’re not alone. Many mistakenly believe that score and soundtrack are the same, but they really are not. There are several differences in the two, and in all actuality, film score can actually be included in a film soundtrack but you won’t find a soundtrack included in the score. To help you understand the difference between film score vs soundtrack, we’re laying down the basics of the two.

What is Film Score?

Film score represents the original music that is created to accompany the various scenes within the film. Film score is produced by a film composer that works closely with the Director to create music which accompanies and compliments the existing scenes of the story. Generally speaking, the film score will heighten the emotions felt by the audience when watching the film while producing audible effects that compliment individual elements of each scene. 

The film’s composer will work with the Director to spot the film. Spotting refers to watching the film, first in its entirety and then scene by scene, to slowly define the individual music needs keeping a running list of informational details regarding desired tempo, style, or special effects that would be most suitable for the scene.

Once composition is completed for the film score, the film composer will begin to work out the details regarding actual instrumentals and various digital compositions that will be recorded for use in the finished film project. 

What is a Film Soundtrack?

The film soundtrack represents a selection of music that was incorporated into the film.  Sometimes referred to as a film’s original soundtrack, the musical selections that are included within the typical soundtrack are often a mix of songs that were created for the sole purpose of this particular film production as well as those which represent pre-existing sons that the film crew was able to secure copyright to in order rot use as an accompaniment to the film.

 Whether a song is recorded for the film, or was previously recorded and is chosen for use within the film, not all songs that are included in a film’s production will be included in the original soundtrack. In fact, the soundtrack may only feature certain songs and not others or it could feature snippets of dialogue and film score. You might recall purchasing your favorite film soundtracks in the past in order to hear a certain song or to enjoy your favorite sounds from a film you particularly love.

Difference Between Film Score vs Soundtrack

When it comes to understanding the difference between film score vs soundtrack, many find the two confusing. Film score can be included in a soundtrack, but you won’t ever find a soundtrack included in the film score. Likewise, a soundtrack will often feature music that was not produced for the sole purpose of the production of a film, but film score is created specifically for the film and would not be created otherwise.

Soundtracks often feature dialogue snipes and unique moments in sound that take place within a film. These moments are chosen specifically for the soundtrack to add additional value and connection making the soundtrack more engaging for the audience. Likewise, film score will not included dialogue.

Film score represents a specific piece of music that was produced as an accompaniment and complimentary element for a particular scene or a specific moment within a film. The difference between film score vs soundtrack is that a film soundtrack represents the compilation of various songs and sounds, some of which might be included in the film’s score, whereas the score represents only the music that is created specifically for complimentary use in the film.

Film score doesn’t usually feature any form of vocal music. In fact, it’s usually instrumental and is often performed by either an orchestra or sometimes by a group of musicians. Songs that are included on a soundtrack can include those that have vocals and those that are entirely instrumental. Soundtracks include both instrumental music such as the score, and songs that are complete with words and sounds. 

So what’s the difference between film score vs soundtrack? The soundtrack is a compilation of music, including songs, instrumentals and sometimes dialogue that is produced as an accompaniment to a movie or film and often feature the most dominant songs and sounds from a film that an audience would like to listen to again in the future whereas the film score is typically instrumental music that is created just for the film as background music or to otherwise heighten the emotions that are elicited during a scene. 

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