This question is not about any specific movie but the technicality involved in its making. We know all over the world, various directors have chosen silence over any background score at all.

My question here is:

As the imparting of background score to a particular scene is almost entirely dependent on the interpretation of that scene, is this the reason why directors at times opt for silence lest it gets misinterpreted by another person giving the wrong score?

  • @Paulie_D..Sure..I would start with the last one then. – Sudip Biswas Mar 2 '17 at 19:27
  • I get it now. What still beats me is, when its the director who is actually creating the movie, how can he synchronize his perceptions of each scene with that of the composer so that he can give the perfect score – Sudip Biswas Mar 2 '17 at 19:30
  • I understand now. Thanks a bunch.!! – Sudip Biswas Mar 2 '17 at 19:36
  • added a note on Goddard in my original answer. Just a heads as I think it will be of interest to you. – DukeZhou Mar 2 '17 at 22:43

My understanding is that it is an aesthetic choice, considered unconventional in contemporary film making (although thankfully less so in recent years, possibly due to the success of certain contemporary auteurs.)

In most films, the score is used for exactly the opposite of what you suggest, to avoid any possible misinterpretation of the scene. (i.e. there is a musical shorthand for "you should be feeling wonder" or "you should be afraid" or "this is a romantic moment.")

Using the score in this manner is often a cover for poor writing and directing, in that the dramatic tension in a scene, or any other feeling, can be evoked even though it has not been "earned".

(It's been a while since I saw the Shosanna/Landa scene in the restaurant, but as I recall, all of the tension was derived from the plot and dialogue, not from score. QT is known for using music in a manner oppositional to how score is conventionally used in Hollywood films, which is to say "as a crutch", and even presents music counter to the feeling of the scene to create even more tension, as in the case of Officer Marvin Nash's ear.)

The story of the score of the Exorcist is an alternate example, where the artistry of the musical composition, in conjunction with the images, was deemed too much for the audience to take.

Goddard uses score for a different reason a famous scene involving a jukebox in Band of Outsiders. In this scene, he uses lack of score to challenge our concept of reality in the context of film, which is a theme that runs through his work in general. ( Goddard, out of all of the New Wave auteurs, was probably most influential in QT's work. He even named his early production company, A Band Apart after Goddard's famous film.)

In general, my personal take on directors who do not overuse score, is that it is a mark of the quality of their craftsmanship, and even a protest against the overuse of score in low-quality, mass-market films that do well in the box office.

A note on David Lynch: I felt I should add a coda on Lynch's brilliant use of score, in particular the use of unsettling music juxtaposed with images or settings that would otherwise be considered banal. Lynch uses it to indicate the sinister elements that may lie just beneath the surface of everyday reality.

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    @DukeZhou...I am fairly new to this portal, but to me, this was one of the most satisfying answers I have ever come across...:) I also have watched such silences in films of Satyajit Ray, Akira Kurosawa nd Francis Ford Copola, but the one I get reminded of right now is, The Cold Song used by Martin Scorsese in The Wolf of Wall Street, during the scene when Donnie gets high on ludes and its shown in slow motion. – Sudip Biswas Mar 2 '17 at 22:26
  • @SudipBiswas I need to see more of Ray's work! Like you, I am a fan of the greats. I don't know if you've seen Scorsese's "primer" on film, which I believe is "A Personal Journey with Martin Scorsese Through American Movies" (been a couple of decades since I watched it, but it's better than going to film school imo;) – DukeZhou Mar 3 '17 at 20:39
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    I am definitely going to watch the one you'av just suggested. I hail from the same city as Satyajit Ray and as you can imagine, he is greatly revered here. If you would really want to watch his masterpieces I would suggest you start of with youtube.com/watch?v=OmY-9W2WkjI Even I am working on to get my hands on works of Kurosawa and his likes. – Sudip Biswas Mar 3 '17 at 21:08
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    @DukeZhou...Lastly, if you are keen on knowing his perceptions of creating a movie, I request this bit first. Its his interview taken long time back.youtube.com/watch?v=VfZjx0YSRHQ – Sudip Biswas Mar 3 '17 at 21:17

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