What do we refer to a person who composed music for that? I frequently watch movies and I have noticed each one of these described here!

A music director,
A composer, or
A scorer (as in background score)?

Can we call this person a musician?

Also, is music composer a correct phrase? If yes, why use music then? What else does a film fraternity compose?

  • 2
    Composer and director and two different roles. The composer writes the music, the director directs the orchestra that plays the music. Sometimes the composer will direct; I think John Williams does both.
    – J.R.
    Mar 5, 2014 at 10:38
  • "Music composer" sounds a little forced to me. I think "composer" will always do the trick through context. "Scorer" sounds like a "film world" word since it makes me think of cricket and football! @J.R. nailed the difference between composer and director. I'll finish by saying that "musician" is a great global term, but not specific enough to allow differentiation here. So feel free to use it, but bear in mind the more specific options you suggested (except "scorer", which I just don't like!).
    – JMB
    Mar 5, 2014 at 10:52
  • @JMB - I agree that musician is a very general term. Moreover, the word, by itself, would make me think of someone who plays an instrument, not someone who composes or directs music (although I'm sure most composers and directors are also accomplished musicians, probably on more than one instrument).
    – J.R.
    Mar 5, 2014 at 11:20
  • 1
    @MaulikV A composer would write symphonies, which mainly means the instrumentation (in contrast with a songwriter who writes lyrics), but also write works with lyrics (think Beethoven, e.g. his No. 9 4th movement, Ode to Joy). A music director would oversee the overall musical production, and could take the role of the composer himself or herself. Mar 5, 2014 at 12:08
  • 1
    "John is a composer" means that John writes music (not lyrics), unless John works in a printing office composing type. If John writes both music and lyrics, he might be a "songwriter" in popular music, but in classical music he will be both a composer and "librettist" (the words in an opera are called a "libretto") or "lyricist".
    – BobRodes
    Mar 5, 2014 at 15:22

2 Answers 2


A music director implies the person who selected pieces of music that other people wrote. Either selected the music for the band to play (in which case she probably also a bandleader.) Or she selected recordings for the film soundtrack (in which case the person could also be considered a producer in the sense it used in the music world -- though not in sense "producer" is used in the film world.)

A composer writes a musical score, which as noted above, usually does not include lyrics.

Scorer is less common, because as noted "score" now implies several slang meanings which have nothing to do with music :) (There is an album of film music with the humorous title "I Like to Score.")

Musician, as noted, means someone who performed but did not necessarily write music. "Music composer" is redundant in any context.


This is a tricky area. A Musician is simply someone that performs or plays an instrument however with music things are always so much more. Music is an aesthetic thing. It comes from within. The ability to blow through an instrument does not make you a musician... I hope you're understanding what I'm saying. A music scorer is the person that selects music for films appropriate for the setting and the tone of each scene. The score is the actual document of music that the music composer creates. I understand what you're saying about 'music composer'. There is no need to put the word music in front of composer, it is redundant. However, there could be multiple roles involved there that the composer may or may not fulfull. He/she may have written the music, but not lead the musicians that played the score.

I hope that helped at all.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .