Prior to starting his library career, C2M2 mad scientist and creator Michael Harris completed a doctorate in musicology with a dissertation on Japanese film music of the post-World War II era. Although his professional life has shifted into the world of library and archives, he nonetheless continues to work within the field of film music studies, giving papers, collaborating with colleagues on projects, and in general associating with the community in both the professional and personal spheres. In his research and that of his colleagues, identifying and using archival resources has proved challenging.
Currently a great deal of film music research is rooted in close analysis of performed music within a media text (for example, longitudinal studies of the corpus of a single composer, looking at film and music practices in the context of a limited period and a single studio, or the use of music and sound by a single director), which make the film/show/game/media and its audiotrack the core objects under consideration. Archival materials are only used when they happen to be available and easily discoverable, which is extremely unusual. This is the problem that C2M2 attempts to address.
Archives of media music are dispersed across many repositories including libraries, private collections, and the massive archives of specific studios. The Collections of Cinema and Media Music, or C2M2 (similarity to R2-D2 not accidental), hopes to become a multi-repository collaboration to assist archives in making their film music collections more discoverable to the researchers who seek them. This project hopes to utilize ideas from Helen Samuels’ documentation strategy approach to build a robust record via collaboration between archives and the film and media music industry. And through this, we also hope to raise the visibility of women and minority composers and those working in non-Hollywood film industries.