A few quick facts about trailers:
- Film studios don’t produce trailers; rather, they are created by boutique trailer houses that typically compete for the contract;
- Trailer music is very rarely from the film, since the music for the film is almost never finished when trailers are released. One exception is the use of the “Dies irae” from the Verdi Requiem in studio Trailer Park’s teaser to Mad Max: Fury Road, which George Miller liked so much that he had it incorporated into the film score.
- Trailers have traditionally relied on production or library music, pre-composed tracks that are written and selected for use by virtue of the affect they elicit.
The use of existing music in cover or trailerized versions unites the four Quick Take posts on trailer music, which illustrate the diversity of quotation styles. Jacky Avila discusses race and gender in the trailer to Proud Mary, which features Taraji P. Henson as Mary and uses the eponymous song by Tina Turner (sans Ike). Loren Kajikawa reviews the trailer for the highly anticipated Marvel release, Black Panther, situating the song, “Legend Has It,” by Run the Jewels within recent hip hop discourse. In contrast, Will Gibbons problematizes the trailer “Mysteries of Egypt” for the video game Assassin’s Creed Origins because of its exploitation of the song, “Blood,” by the band Algiers. And I discuss issues of vocal style and identity in the cover of “Sweet Dreams” used in the teaser trailer to A Wrinkle in Time.
James Deaville teaches Music in the School for Studies in Art and Culture at Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. He has edited Music in Television (Routledge, 2010) and has co-edited Music and the Broadcast Experience (Oxford, 2016). He is currently working on a study of music and sound in cinematic trailers, a result of the Trailaurality research group that has been funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. He is also undertaking a co-edited anthology on music and advertising as one of the Oxford Handbooks. He regularly gives papers at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and Music and the Moving Image conferences (among others), and has published on music and media in Music, Sound and the Moving Image, the Journal of Film Music, and Music & Politics (among others).