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Shie Rozow
Every Note Tells a Story
Shie Rozow, author
Every Note Tells a Story is a profound and practical handbook that provides filmmakers and directors with an illuminating overview of the film scoring process. Written by veteran composer and music editor, Shie Rozow, this book breaks down seasoned scoring wisdom drawn from his experience working on over 150 feature films, giving readers a deep appreciation for the power of music. Featuring a wealth of handy resources and advice, personal anecdotes, expert film-scoring strategies, and real-world case studies of these lessons in action, readers will discover how to enhance and enrich their storytelling through the transformative impact of music. From short projects and feature-length films to documentaries and TV shows, you’ll learn how to pick the right composer, go from temporary music to a finished score and your final dub, while safeguarding your intellectual property rights through licensing and contracts. Perfect for aspiring or established filmmakers, directors, producers, editors, composers, or anyone curious about the role of music in film, Every Note Tells a Story will quickly become a valuable companion guide that helps you streamline the film scoring process and improve your filmmaking craft.
Debut author and experienced Hollywood composer and music editor Rozow delivers a master class in using music in film and TV productions to maximum effect. Rozow makes a persuasive point about the power of music in storytelling: “The art of film scoring is really a storytelling craft,” he opines. “The purpose of film music,” he writes, “... is not purely to entertain, but rather, it is there to enhance a scene. The music is there to help you tell your story.” He demonstrates this in thorough, inviting, clarifying detail, showcasing how music can set a narrative’s tone, communicate emotions, establish time and place, and enhance storytelling, all with an emphasis on practical scoring tips, which are studded throughout.

Rozow skillfully leads readers through every stage of the musical process, from finding and choosing the right composers and musical partners, understanding technical jargon, shooting and editing musical elements, music editing, and working with musical teams to provide the best possible final production. Defining terms that may be unfamiliar to newcomers—such as “spotting” (a meeting in which the placement of music throughout the film is discussed and decided), leitmotifs (a short phrase or melody that is repeated throughout the picture in association with a specific character, emotion, state of mind, story point, or a place or setting) and mixing and dubbing will give filmmakers vocabulary to express to their collaborators the effect they’re after, while musicians and readers simply fascinated by the art will find the approaches and explanations here illuminating as well.

Rozow closes out this first-rate guide with sample spotting notes, master cue lists, music cue sheets, sample composer deal notes, sample composer agreements, sample music licenses, and more. This invaluable guide will prove essential to anyone seeking to use music effectively in their theatrical works, whether a blockbuster movie, an indie documentary, or any other narrative video project.

Takeaway: Thorough, inviting, illuminating guide to scoring film and TV.

Comparable Titles: Deena Kaye and James Lebrecht’s Sounds and Music of the Theatre ; John Gardyne’s Producing Musicals: A Practical Guide.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: B+
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: A

Bruce Cannon

“Every Note Tells a Story” is an essential read for all film students, directors, editors, producers music composers, and everyone who appreciates the art of film music. Shie’s many years of experience as both a music editor and film composer have gifted the reader with a wealth of information and knowledge on every aspect of music in the visual arts.

This groundbreaking comprehensive book is filled with Shie’s creative insights and loads of examples and anecdotes revealing the power of music to affect story telling. It walks you through every step of the creative and the practical aspects to creating a film score from spotting sessions to the final mix.

Above all, Shie’s passion and love for music is felt on every page of this meticulously researched book. This book entertains, educates, and enlightens the reader.

Bruce Cannon
(Boyz n the HoodRosewood2 Fast 2 FuriousFour Brothers)

Butch Kapaln

Having had the pleasure and privilege to work with Shie alongside the late great Oscar winning editor Jerry Greenberg, I can attest to his talent, skill and acumen in manipulating music to enhance every scene in the film. It feels like magic, but is simply hard work and great taste.

Butch Kapaln
Producer/Production Manager
(The NotebookJohn QAlpha Dog

Chris Sheridan

This is a must-read for any showrunner/filmmaker who plans on using music in their projects. This is the book I wish I had when I started.

Chris Sheridan
Emmy and BAFTA Nominated Writer/Producer/Showrunner
(Family GuyResident AlienTitus)

Conrad Buff

Every Note Tells A Story is more than a colorful examination of music in film. It is a valuable, practical, and illuminating resource for anyone interested in understanding the power and use of music in storytelling.

Conrad Buff
Oscar Winning Editor
(TitanicTerminator 2: Judgement DayThe AbyssTraining Day)

David Arnold

This is a book written by someone who has perspective and knowledge of dealing with the most complicated and challenging aspects of music production for film and TV. The behind the scenes work experience that only many years of commitment gets you. And it’s all in this book. 

David Arnold
Emmy & BAFTA Winning Composer
(SherlockQuantum of SolaceCasino RoyaleIndependence DayStargate, 2 Fast 2 Furious)

Joe Nussbaum

Shie has crafted an incredibly thorough look at the many practical aspects of working with music in film and television. The extensive list of covered topics is broken down into digestible pieces and brimming with helpful examples. The book’s no-nonsense approach allows readers to take as deep or shallow a dive as they desire.

Joe Nussbaum
(George Lucas in LoveSydney WhiteJust Add MagicUltra Violet & Black Scorpion)

Lisa Bruce

This is a wonderful, entertaining, deep dive into the layered world of marrying music to your film or tv show.  It is a master class from inside the world of music that will successfully guide you from the first moment of choosing your temp track all the way to polishing your final mix.

Lisa Bruce
Two-time Oscar Nominated and BAFTA Winning Producer
(Darkest HourThe Theory of Everything, Amazon Prime’s Welcome to the Blumhouse)

Stratton Leopold

Every Note Tells A Story is a magnificent read and trove of knowledge!  Shie Rozow has used his extensive knowledge of music in all media as well as his encyclopedic knowledge of film to provide the reader with vast knowledge and a pathway to success in music with and within film and other media.  A must read for the beginner or seasoned professional.

Stratton Leopold
(Captain America: The First AvengerMission: Impossible IIIStar TrekThe Sum of All Fears)

Vanessa Roth

Every Note Tells a Story is an extraordinary gift to everyone who uses music to create sonic landscapes and narratives in their work – which is all media! Shie’s approach of using real examples as his way to walk through  the integral role of music to create emotion, spirit and the drive of a story while mapping out the process brings both the artistry and business of music in media to life.

Vanessa Roth
Oscar Winning Director/Producer
(FreeheldMary J Blige’s My LifeNational Geographic Presents: Impact with Gal GadotDaughters of Destiny)

Vincenzo Natali

People think of film and television as visual mediums but that is only half the story. Shie Rozow offers the most thoughtful and comprehensive examination I have ever seen into the art and process of the composer and how music is a filmmaker’s most valuable tool for seducing the audience into their world.

Vincenzo Natali
(In The Tall Grass, Splice, Cypher, Cube)

Walter Murch

Music is yin to film’s yang—they have co-existed since the dawn of cinema. Shie Rozow’s Every Note Tells a Story is a superb and comprehensive guide to how music and motion pictures work together and complement each other, probing the difficult questions of correct composition, performance, and placement.

Up-to-date, filled with examples from film history and analyses of practicalities and aesthetics, Every Note is a comprehensive guide to the potentials and pitfalls of music for film.

Highly recommended.

Walter Murch
3x Oscar Winner
Editor/Sound Designer/Re-Recording Mixer (Apocalypse NowThe Godfather I, II, & IIIThe English PatientCold Mountain)