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The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk Essay

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Updated: Mar 23rd, 2019

Music that is accompanied by sound effects plays several roles when it comes to production of any given movie. Historically, film producers have been able to apply sound and music to create emotions in those who are watching the films among other applications. This is evident in the kind of sound and action combination in movies released in the 19th century which is the focus of this research.

The main aim of this research paper is to discuss the role of music in a selected film. The focus of the paper is to demonstrate that music plays several roles in a Hollywood film titled “The Sea Hawk” that was released in 1940. This paper vehemently defends the fact that music in films plays an important role of bringing out the persona in a character among other roles.


The Sea Hawk is a 1940 adventure film that was released by Hollywood and encompasses the aspects of sound and action throughout its plot. The music played in the film was composed by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, who was an Austro- Hungarian film and romantic music composer.

Directors of this film spent a lot of time just selecting this kind of music to accompany the action of their characters because they understand that this has several impacts on viewer’s reactions and thus film enhancement. The music is then played at selected scenes in the film to enhance the message or the action being played.

In the beginning, there is a background music that is played when Knox and Lupino are passengers in a ship that collides with another vessel and sinks. A loud music is played in this scene to evoke emotions of the viewer in a manner that indicates something so immense and creates a lot of tension.

The two are rescued by a ghost which is a seal hunting ship whereby Captain Wolf Larsen known as Robinson dominates in brutalizing members of the crew and as they move, the music played indicates that there is sympathy on the part of those who are being brutalized. The beat is repeated throughout the film and becomes a motif that is symbolic of the brutal life that these individuals are facing and even of the whole movie.

Music used in this film out rightly creates a message that it is possible to create a character of its own. It serves the purpose of emphasizing a critical point in the film because it works to move the plot and ensure that the message intended is clearly brought forward.

For example, when the ambassador’s ship that had sunk is captured on its way to England, music that is played serves to indicate that there is a lot of tension and the viewer needs to be keen on which events are going to unfold.

The situation of tension is reduced when Dona Maria and Don Alvarez are taken on board and moved to England. The music starts falling down when detestation of Dona Maria falls when they are in England and she begins falling in love.

Music in a film is also sometimes associated with a physical action in the film. In this film for example, music blends very well with the scene where Don Alvarez is granted a queen’s audience and goes on to complain about the kind of treatment they received when travelling to England.

The background music serves the purpose of evoking memories of what they went through when they were treated while on their way to England. Music is also played to bring out the tension that there is when there arises suspicion of Thorpe’s expedition when he sets out to find where the albatross is really heading and the viewer is set to see whether he will succeed or not.

Music also paints the persona of the characters in the scene in that it compliments what viewers think about the character. The music that is played when Dona Maria is in love when they arrive in England portrays her as one romantic person.

The nature, pitch and lyric of the soundtrack are used to inform the viewer through enforcing the overall ambience or the theme that is being brought out by the character.

Most of the people who watch this film have shivers running up their spines at the scene where they hear the sharp violin sound when Thorpe meets Abbott, who is an Englishman who was captured uncovering Armada’s true purpose evidence. Actually, for many viewers, the sharp repetition of the violin is the first thing they recall about this film and not the film images.

Another critical role that music plays is enforcement of a character’s power and emotional impact, a story point, the scene and an all-encompassing theme. Music can be associated with a physical action in the animation, such as when Thorpe reaches the port and tries to warn the queen and the music played indicates that he is an emotional person.

The orchestral music that is played at the scene where Don Alvarez is held as a prisoner after boarding a ship and later sneaks into the carriage accompanied by Dona Maria, who decides to wait for the return of Thorpe by staying in England, clearly brings out the emotional nature of the two individuals.

Music is also a directorial device that works to connect viewers emotionally to a scene. Background music at the scene where Thorpe reaches the Queen with Dona Maria’s assistance and provides proof of the intentions of King Phillip connects the viewer with elicited emotions and their basis.

This part which is present in the film at the very beginning serves as a tool for connecting viewers emotionally. The film’s climax has music played and Thorpe, the queen’s captain, reveals her intention of building a massive fleet in opposition of the Spanish threat.


It can be noted that the use of music and especially orchestral music has been there from as early as the 19th century. Most directors of these movies have been able to utilize scene enhancement that comes with the use of music as characters unfold events in the film.

It can also be demonstrated in that music that is used in films helps to reveal the persona in the film and also connect the viewer of the film with emotions that are presented at various stages. In the film “The Sea Hawk” that was released in 1940, orchestral music has been played in various scenes with the purpose of linking the viewer with events and themes as well as revealing the personality of a character in a specific scene.

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"The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk." IvyPanda, 23 Mar. 2019, ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-sea-hawk/.

1. IvyPanda. "The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk." March 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-sea-hawk/.


IvyPanda. "The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk." March 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-sea-hawk/.


IvyPanda. 2019. "The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk." March 23, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/the-role-of-music-in-the-sea-hawk/.


IvyPanda. (2019) 'The Role of Music in the Sea Hawk'. 23 March.

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