The soundtrack as a genre.

Updated: Apr 1

Can we categorize a movie's original soundtrack as a musical genre?


The soundtrack is defined as the music that accompanies a movie. It can be either a soundtrack or an OST. but can we define a soundtrack as a musical genre?



The original soundtrack that is used in Hollywood movies has such an impact on the audience that many have accepted the original soundtrack as a music genre. While soundtrack in its definition is just the music that accompanies a motion picture, the similarity between today's Hollywood OST is so much that we can actually categorize them as a genre.


Some of the qualities that can define a piece of music as the soundtrack are as follows:


  • Orchestral music or orchestral accompaniment to a solo instrument.

  • Big percussion section in the orchestra.

  • Epic sounding music.

  • Powerful rhythms.

  • Music based on motives and riffs, not on melodies.

  • No form in the music, because it basically follows the form of the movie and in most of the time does not have its own musical form.

Not all of the soundtracks and OST's have these elements, therefore they can't all be considered in the genre of the soundtrack. Just because a piece of music is accompanying a movie does not mean that its genre is the soundtrack. They can be categorized as classical music, jazz, pop, rock, electronic or any other genres. But when we hear music that has the elements above, the best way to categorize them is to just put them in the soundtrack section.



There are a lot of composers whose compositions can be considered as soundtrack music. Among the most famous film composers we can name:


  • Hans Zimmer

  • Ramin Djawadi

  • Alexandre Desplat

  • Alan Silvestri

  • Michael Giacchino

  • James Newton Howard

  • Carter Burwell

  • Harry Gregson-Williams

  • John Powell

  • Clint Mansell

  • Patrick Doyle

  • Elliot Goldenthal

  • James Horner

  • Hildur Gounadottir


There are many soundtrack composers that their compositions are closer to classical pieces than to what we just defined as the soundtrack genre. Among them we can name:


  • John Williams

  • Ennio Morricone

  • Nino Rota

  • Howard Shore

  • Bernard Herrmann

  • Jerry Goldsmith

  • Leonard Bernstein

  • Thomas Newman

  • Maurice Jarre

  • Wendy Carlos

  • Rachel Portman

  • Eleni Karaindrou

  • Lisa Gerrard


Of course, the lists given are more of familiarization with the general sounding of the compositions of these great film composers. It doesn’t mean that some of them just compose in the classical genre and some just compose in the soundtrack genre. All of them are amazing composers and capable of composing in different genres when needed.


In conclusion, a soundtrack can be used to define a genre of music. A genre that we talked about its quality in previous paragraphs. It also can be used as a style of music, especially in orchestral music.



Here is a playlist of great soundtracks for movies and games. Listen and enjoy it.


#soundtrack #film_music #music

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