A film’s music is often considered a character itself, and this season the roles composers have to play aren’t getting any easier. Talking about love between the emotionally unstable is one thing, but how, for instance, does that sound? Or when a character speaks to God, should God answer back with silence or an orchestra? And what of a period piece that isn’t a period piece, or a piece that’s six periods at once? Here we offer a look at just a handful of 2012’s notable film scores.

It was early September, and Mychael Danna was nearing the end of his eight months of work on “Life of Pi,” the composer’s third collaboration with director Ang Lee. The 80-piece orchestra assembled at the 20th Century Fox lot was on a break, and Danna, in a rare quiet moment in the studio’s harp room, was asked to reflect on his initial conversations with Lee about the film.

“I was scared,” said Danna. The composer had reason to be nervous. Lee was essentially asking him to create a sound that could stand in for God. “Only a daredevil would attempt to do this,” Danna said.

And yet here he was, trying to find a way to accompany a film about a man’s test of faith on a boat in the middle of the ocean with a Bengal tiger. Just to further complicate matters, “Life of Pi” would start in India, bring in elements of numerous major religions and use music where most films would use dialogue.

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