Toy story Music Analysis paper
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Toy story Music Analysis paper


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'Assessment 2 Research Essay ​30%

Film Music is a 1500-word research essay. The paper is an analysis of a music cue from a film, and should be done using the skills and techniques that have been practiced in the class throughout the trimester (cf. Gorbman et al).


i) Watch the entire film (film is in AIM library, or available externally).

ii) Watch the scene in question (scene is on Sharepoint).

iii) Do research.

iv) Write your paper.

The structure of the paper will be as follows:

  1. A one-paragraph introduction, which introduces the composer, the film and the scene, and expresses your thesis idea for the paper.
  2. A one or two paragraph bio/career summary of the composer.
  3. A one or two paragraph summary of the plot and historical background of the film – in your own words.
  4. A short set-up of the scene you are to analyse: explain it in the context of the film – in your own words.
  5. Your analysis of the music in the scene in a film music context – this will form the main body of your paper.
  6. Conclusion, in which you summarise your point of view about the scene/cue – your thesis.

There are two scenes/films being done by the class. Your film/scene will be assigned to you – do onlythe film/scene assigned to you, no other film/scene may be substituted. 

Some friendly suggestions:

While the use of web resources is both allowed and encouraged, do not use IMDB, Wikipedia and the composer’s/film company’s promotional web site as your onlyresources. Information on a promotional web site can be hyperbolic and even inaccurate. It is acceptable to use these resources, but verify the information from other sources.

Write everything in your own words, even if, for example, in the case of the composer bio or film summary, the information is in effect widely duplicated. Cutting and pasting this information from web sites is a form of plagiarism and is very easily revealed by a quick web search.

Once you have completed your paper, proofread itcarefully. You will be marked on both grammar/spelling and clarity of expression. Reading the paper aloud to another person is a great way to discover errors that one can overlook when reading it to oneself.

Make sure you have at least between four and five references in your bibliography. Be sure and follow the AIM Academic Style Guideas a reference for bibliographic style, citation and all other writing and formatting questions.

Remember that books on the history and theory/practice of film music can be useful resources, beyond resources that pertain only specifically to your film and/or composer. The AIM library has excellent resources here, both hard copies and digital. '

I know the description for this one is very long but it's essentially just asking to have a paper written on the song used in the mentioned scene and why that song fits, and some history on the song.

Here are some tips on writing these assignments:

'Top five mistakes to look out for – don’t do these!

  • Titles of films and novels are italicised, not put in quotes: for example: Citizen Kane(1941)
  • Be careful with apostrophes: use them for possessives, not for plurals.
  • Make sure your bio, synopsis and set-up are concise and pertinent. Don’t pad them with trivia and hyperbole. If you are already more than halfway through the paper before you begin to write about the music, one or more of your initial sections is too long.
  • Speaking of hyperbole, make sure that you write in an academic ‘voice’. Chatty, colloquial writing is not appropriate for this kind of paper, nor is expression of your personal feelings about the characters.
  • Remember that the name of the course is FilmMusic: write with as much detail and insight about the music itself as you can: this is not a movie review in a newspaper, it is a research/analysis paper about film music.'

I've attached both the Godfather and Toy Story scenes, as well as an 'AIM Academic Style Guide' which are guidelines my university has set on how each assignment is to be written. 



Toy Story is a computer-animated buddy adventure comedy film produced by the Pixar studios for the Walt Disney Studio. This is a coming off age tale about anthropomorphic toys that comes to life and learn about themselves, as well as working with others through believing in themselves. Through these characters, the concept of desire, hatred, jealousy, self-doubt and fear among others has been introduced to the audience (Price, 2008). Given the nature of the film, it was difficult to exhibit the transgression of emotions in the characters, however, the feat was brilliantly accomplished by the composer of the movie- Randy Newman. In their review, Kalinak (2015) notes that music and other sounds in the movies adds to the emotive appeal, and contribute towards increased psychological undertaking towards the plot and characters for the audience. Through the present research, this aspect is addressed and the impact of music in expressing the emotions of the characters in the Toy Story is studied. The research reflects that through the dramatics of diegetic and non-diegetic sounds, a filmmaker can extenuate the emotional quotient of the scene, and helps the audience in comprehending the psychological trajectory of even the most difficult character.


Randy Newman

Randy Newman (Birth name Randall S. Newman) is an American-songwriter, music arranger and a pianist, who has given countless film scores. A professional songwriter since the age of 17 (Everett and Laird, 2002), Newman has been associated with big films such as the Toy Story Franchise, Cars franchise, Cats Don’t Dance, A Bug’s Life, and Meet the parents among others (BBC, 2008). Even as Newman made a mark for himself as a recording artist, and performed through his songwriting skills in theater as well, it was the film scores which gave him critical accolades and commercial success, as well as three Emmys, seven Grammy Awards, and the Recording academy' Governor’s Award (Disney legends- D23, 2018). Influenced by names like Charles Ray and other rock icons (Everett and Laird, 2002), Newman was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002, and as a Disney Legend in 2007 (Disney legends- D23, 2018). Newman is also a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

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