Film scores encompass an enormous variety of styles of music, depending on the nature of the films they accompany. The majority of scores are orchestral works rooted in Western classical music, but a great number of scores also draw influence from jazz, rock, pop, blues, new-age and ambient music, and a wide range of ethnic and world music styles. Since the a growing number of scores have also included electronic elements as part of the score, and many scores written today feature a hybrid of orchestral and electronic instruments.
Since the invention of digital technology and audio sampling, many low-budget films have been able to rely on digital samples to imitate the sound of live instruments, and many scores are created and performed wholly by the composers themselves, by using sophisticated music composition software.
Songs are usually not considered part of the film’s score,although songs do also form part of the film’s soundtrack. Although some songs, especially in musicals, are based on thematic ideas from the score scores usually do not have lyrics, except for when sung by choirs or soloists as part of a cue. Similarly, pop songs which are “needle dropped” into a specific scene in film for added emphasis are not considered part of the score, although occasionally the score’s composer will write an original pop song based on his themes, such as James Horner’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic, written for Celine Dion.