Author ORCID Identifier

Degree Year


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Stephen Hartke

Committee Member(s)

Charles Edward McGuire, Chair
Rebecca Fülöp
Jesse Jones


David Cronenberg, Howard Shore, The Brood, Naked Lunch, The Fly, Videodrome, Film composition, Film scoring, Experimentation, Experimental composition, Film studies, Film music studies, Musicology


With a career spanning almost forty years, Canadian composer Howard Shore has become one of the most respected and sought after film composers working in the industry today. Much of his work, in particular his scores for the Lord of the Rings films, have received much academic attention, his longstanding working relationship with Canadian horror filmmaker David Cronenberg, however, has not yet benefited from such academic inquiry. Using the films The Brood, Videodrome, The Fly, and Naked Lunch as case studies, this thesis examines the way that Shore uses the arena of Cronenberg’s films as a laboratory for personal musical experimentation. Examples include Shore’s use of electronic synthesizer sounds alongside a string orchestra for Videodrome, implementations of against-the-grain writing for The Fly, and the incorporation of free-jazz aesthetics in Naked Lunch. Using as sources Howard Shore’s words and what academic inquiry exists in this field, but more often utilizing my own analysis and observations of the music and films, I argue that Shore’s scores incorporate such musical experimentation to work in tandem with Cronenberg’s own experimental art. As such, Shore’s scores for Cronenberg’s films are a prime illustration of the practical value of experimental composition, showing that there is room for experimental composition in music outside of the realm of academia and indeed that such music can have commercial potential.


Bachelor of Arts, Music Composition for Film.

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