incidental music


Information & Library Science

Media Studies

  • noun music specifically written to be played at the same time as the action of a film, play or television programme


  • Music that is specifically written for a play but does notform an integral part of the work. Incidental music is often usedto create mood or atmosphere. It is clear that Shakespeare sometimesused incidental music at the begining or end of a scene; for example,Twelfth Night begins with the line "If music be the foodof love, play on" and at the close of Much Ado About NothingBenedick calls "strike up, pipers."

    Some of the world's leading composers have contributed incidentalmusic to drama, including Beethoven, Mendelssohn, Bizet, Tchaikovsky,Grieg, Debussy, Delius, Vaughan Williams, Elgar, and Britten.