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Film Studies

Resources for Film Studies at CWRU

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Which One Should I use?

RILM or Music Index -- Which Should I Use?

  1. RILM has more direct links to full text.
  2. Music Index indexes more popular music sources.
  3. The RILM interface is more powerful, but more complex.
  4. RILM contains abstracts (which are searchable).

Search Strategy: There is a way to search both RILM and Music Index simultaneously. You can do so by accessing either database, click on Choose Databases (directly above the search box), and then selecting the other database.

Film Music and Film Musicals: RILM Abstracts of Music Literature

What Can I Do With This Database? Retrieve citations for and links to full text (when available) for articles, chapters of books and dissertations on the music of specific films and film genres, the music of the films of specific directors, and the work of specific composers who write for film. This database covers 1967 to present.

 Search Strategies:

  1. Use the Indexes: Use the "Indexes" (title bar of the search page) to help you find the correct term(s) for your subject. Example: if you type "musical" into the indexes you will discover there are four similar but different terms related to the musical.
  2. Search Multiple Databases: The "choose databases" link near the top of the search page allows you to search several databases at the same time. Since film music may be found in non-music journals, try searching as a group: RILM, Humanities International  Complete, MLA International Bibliography and Film and Television Literature Index.

Film Music and Film Musicals: Music Index

What Can I Do With This Database? Retreive citations for and links to JSTOR full text (when available) for articles on the music of specific films and film genres, the music of the films of specific directors, and the work of specific composers who write for film. This database covers 1973 to present.

 Search Strategies:

  1. Use the Subject Search Box: Because Music Index lacks abstracts which can help in searching, the Subject search box in the advanced search is your best bet for retrieving more relevant results.
  2. Limit by Article: If you find your results contain a lot of citations for reviews (of books and recordings), set Document Type to "Article". 

Film Music and Film Musicals: Audio Recordings

Film Music: While film music is best heard in context, film music (and its study) often has intrinsic value apart from a film. Audio recordings generally provide highlights from a film score and in some cases concert excerpts such as orchestral suites based on the music of a specific film. Hearing film music apart from a film allows you to concentrate on elements of the composer's style, such as orchestration.

Film Musicals: The music of film musicals is tied to specific productions or performers. Recordings may be based on productions and cast from the original theatrical productions, theatrical revivals or film adaptations.

Audio Collections at Case:

  1. Kulas Music Library: CDs of film music and film musicals. Search in the Case Libraries online catalog by composer or (film) title. CDs must be used in the library.
  2. Naxos Music Library (Streaming Audio): you can search by composer or (film) title. To browse a list by genre, choose from the sidebar: Genre -- Classical Music -- Film Music or Genre -- Classical Music -- Musicals.
  3. Classical Music Library (Streaming Audio): you can search by composer or (film) title. To browse a list by genre, choose from the sidebar: Genre -- Stage + Screen -- Film Music or Genre -- Stage + Screen -- Musical.

Film Music and Film Musicals: Scores

Film Scores: Complete musical scores for the music of a film are virtually never published and manuscript scores, if extant, are difficult to find and access. Score anthologies of excerpts from the music of a film often exist ("Music from the Star Wars Trilogy") but these are typically arrangements for piano and are not helpful for studying a film composer's orchestration techniques.


Film Musicals: Complete musical scores for musicals are generally never published, although there are notable exceptions (Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story). The songs from a given musical are usually published in anthologies in which the songs are arranged for voice with piano accompaniment. You can find these in the Case Libraries online catalog and the OhioLink online catalog.

Search Strategies:

  1. Musical scores containing songs from a musical are easily retrieved by a simple title search, but be sure to limit by material type (Music, Printed) so that you eliminate CDs and DVDs from the search results.
  2. Song anthologies for a musical are always "selections" from the musical and the extent of the selections may differ widely in different editions. If your search retrieves multiple editions, compare the number of pages to find the edition with the most songs included.

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