MUSIC IN FILM : Dystopia and Fear


.. a clockwork orange

Kubrick's understanding of music is tremendous. The score does everything it needs to, when it needs to, governing the action, clarifying emotions, and adding a completely new dimension to the film. Both the music and his imagery can survive quite well on their own, but the pairing of the two creates associations that pack the plot with meaning.

"[Kubrick] really understood the rhythmic impact of two images coming together. He also had an extraordinary feel for the pace or tempo, a musical term, of a given scene."

-Martin Scorsese

“The film's music can be interpreted as a thematic extension of the viewers' psychologic conditioning. Beautiful classical music is heard during violent scenes, so that, for a short while afterwards, whenever the viewer hears that music, he or she will associate it with the film's violent images.”


Wendy Carlos' contribution to A Clockwork Orange is significant. Pairing classical pieces with the latest synthesizer technology.

“The sound she produced playing Bach on her synthesizer was both classical and futuristic, perfect for A Clockwork Orange... In the film, works by these composers accompany Alex’s violent rampages as well as his violent fantasies, lending them an ecstatic and surreal quality that might well match the way Alex feels during them. The film opens with Carlos’s own composition, Timesteps, a slow, booming, otherworldly piece that sets an ominous tone for the entire film.”


“The music is at once outlandish, captivating, disturbing, comforting and very distinctive. The electronic sounds gave new dimensions to music that fit the unreal screen images perfectly. The second cue has become synonymous with the film; ‘March From A Clockwork’ is Wendy Carlos’ unique take on Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Both this track and ‘Timesteps’ use electronic singing voices courtesy of a Vocoder (the first time it was used), which coupled with the harpsichord sound of the Moog produces a cue that is vibrant and startling, yet comfortably familiar.

Wendy Carlos’ music for the film was therefore integral to the story and indeed integral to the film’s startling impact. The disturbing images where made more disquieting by the familiar classical music given the, even now, radical Carlos treatment.”

-Music from the Movies

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Wendy (aka Walter) Carlos

..also scored tron and the shining

..additional music by Rossini, Elgar, Beethoven, Arthur Freed.

directed by Stanley Kubrick

sample music:



Music from the Movies review
A Clockwork Orange on YouTube


.. silent films
.. sin city
.. brazil

.. night and fog

.. akira

.. blade runner

.. a clockwork orange

links / references