Sound of Cinema settles the score

6 Music's Don Letts, BBC Four's Neil Brand and 1Xtra's Rhianna Dhillon in cinema audience Listen up: 6 Music's Don Letts, BBC Four's Neil Brand and 1Xtra's Rhianna Dhillon will explore the relationship between film and music

Imagine Jaws without its two note shark theme or The Good, the Bad and the Ugly without its coyote-howl recurring motif.

It's almost impossible, with the soundtracks as vital to the movie experience as dorsal fins and Clint Eastwood.

The music that has teased, terrified and toyed with audience emotions since the silent days is to be celebrated this autumn in a season of radio and television programmes.

Sound of Cinema - led by BBC Four and Radio 3 - will cover everything from Hitchcock's use of score to create suspense to hiphop's ability to lift a film from mediocrity.

'We want to give our audiences a deep understanding of what music does for film,' said Helen Boaden, director of radio. 'How it works - which I think most will find fascinating - and the people involved in that relationship. And of course we want to give pleasurable programming, simple enjoyment. It is not just the things that are good for you, it is things that give you pleasure.'

Psycho to Mary Poppins

A three-part BBC Four documentary will be at the season's heart. Presented by silent film composer and film music expert Neil Brand, the series will feature scores of anything from Psycho to Mary Poppins, with Brand unpicking how they work their magic on audiences.

It's never accidental, he insists.

'Film scores demand an extraordinary degree of both musicianship and dramatic understanding on the part of their composers… With my series and the other content across the BBC's Sound of Cinema season I hope that people will hear more in their movies than they ever thought possible.'

Radio 3 will hand over to directors and composers - including Ken Loach and George Fenton who discuss their 20-year partnership - to explain how sound and vision come together, while Composer of the Week will put John Williams' lauded soundtracks under scrutiny.

Friday 13th

In Tune, meanwhile, will examine spooky soundtracks in a special programme that will come live from the British Film Institute on - fittingly - Friday 13th September. The Tippett Quartet will perform music by Hitchcock's composer of choice, Bernard Herrmann during the show.

Other radio networks will offer their take on the theme, with film critic Mark Kermode presenting the four-part Soundtrack of My Life on Radio 2; Asian Network's Bobby Friction turning his attention to Bollywood film scores and Radio 1Xtra exploring Hip Hop in the Movies.

Radio 6 Music will call on stars from the film world to pick their favourites pieces of film music for a five-part Sunday series.

'I honestly think that only the BBC could offer this range, this depth, this expertise and this simple delight and pleasure in music,' concludes Helen Boaden.

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