On Music: Martin Scorsese And The Sounds of 'Silence'

by Armando Gallo December 22, 2016
Director Martin Scorsese

hfpa/armando gallo

Martin Scorsese latest opus, Silence, is an intimate prayer to the power of faith and the search for oneself. The composition of the soundtrack was very close to Scorsese, as he is equally passionate about music and film. “Going back to my childhood”, Scorsese recalls, “my family was working class and didn’t have any books in the house, so it was music and pictures. And the music spoke to me in kind of an abstract way, but emotional, and intellectually stimulating, whether it was jazz or classical music, whatever I was hearing.  And that never left.  It just never left.  And there is something music can do that nothing else can do and it’s pure. It comes right from the body and a voice. I find that art form probably the purest.  And I am always inspired by it.”

For Silence, Scorsese says, he had to go in a very different direction.:"I tried to think for years for music for (Silence) And when I got to the locations, it was quiet.  But quiet has a sound. And I would hear these sounds and I would say what is that and they would say it’s a frog. I hear something called the Taiwan barbet and no matter what was going on, that bird was on its calls straight through.  Animals have this subconscious harmony, and life goes on, this whole other life that we are leading something else, but this is really the spirit of existence, it’s all around us.  And so I tried to make sounds in the picture that were based on musical sounds of nature, cicadas and birds and the ocean.”