It’s the job of Monstrous Movie Music’s Kathleen Mayne to use the composers’ original sketches and/or the studios’ abbreviated conductor’s scores and reconstruct the music into full scores that show every note that every musician must play to bring the music back to its original life.  She does this by studying the sketches or short scores while listening the the film’s soundtrack so many times that she knows every nuance that can be heard above the dialogue and sound effects.  In the rare instances when there are music tracks available (the music without the dialogue and sound effects), that makes her job somewhat easier. 

There might have been up to 50 different musicians playing on the original soundtrack, and because these shorthand scores don’t provide all the necessary musical information, it’s the reconstructionist’s job to figure out what instrument played what notes to arrive at the orchestral sound you hear when you watch the film.

It takes a solid musical education, the knowledge of how various combinations of instruments create a particular sound, being familiar with the make-up of the studio’s orchestra (how many players they had and what instruments they played), knowing the composers’ and orchestrators’ styles, and endless listening to the soundtracks to allow the reconstructionist to create a full score that closely matches what was on the original (lost) full scores.

Unfortunately, sketches and (especially) conductor’s scores can have errors in them that were either corrected on the lost full scores and parts, or which were sometimes caught during the studios’ original scoring sessions.  And other times, the mistakes either weren’t caught, or they were but there was insufficient time to fix them.  So the reconstructionist also has to figure out what to do when such problems arise.  Musical instinct and further listening to the music usually solves these particular problems.

Below is page 2 of Kathleen Mayne’s work-in-progress reconstructed full score for Herman Stein’s “End Cast” from It Came From Outer Space.

Rough full score for End Cast

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