This essay examines the interaction of electronica music, editing, and shot composition in three films directed by Tom Tykwer, all of which share the dramatic theme of the chance encounter, and all of which were scored by Tykwer in collaboration with pop-music composers and producers Johnny Klimek and Reinhold Heil. By using electronica music, the films train the audience’s attention to subtle changes of musical texture, which, when synchronized to changes in the image, help to convey the theme of the chance encounter. I argue further that the compositional practices that characterize Tykwer’s approach to film music constitute a fundamental shift not only from the leitmotif-bound tradition of classical Hollywood scoring but also from that same tradition’s Romantic conception of the single, creative artist who works within a musical canon associated with high art.

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