chapter  19
15 Pages

Trailer or Leader? The Role of Music and Sound in Cinematic Previews

ByJames Deaville

This chapter considers the aesthetics and technical components of the film trailer in its capacity as an audiovisual paratext, and discusses the historical stages of its soundtrack in light of cinema's evolution. Traditionally serving as the audience's first point of contact with a film project, the theatrical trailer presents a spectacle of sight and sound that creates a visceral appeal while advertising a cinematic product. The constituent parts of the trailer contribute to the experience of past, present, and future, yet they differ depending upon factors like film genre, studio, and date of production. Music, sound effects, dialogue, and voice-over narration conspire in the trailer to create a continuous soundscape that functions in tandem with the visual elements. The traditional cinematic audiovisual campaign for a big-budget film consists of three trailers: the first is often called a 'teaser,' because its purpose is to create an appetite both for the next trailer and the film.