A soundtrack can be recorded music accompanying and synchronized to the images of a motion picture, book, television program or video game; a commercially released soundtrack album of music as featured in the soundtrack of a film or TV show; or the physical area of a film that contains the synchronized recorded sound.The term soundtrack now most commonly refers to the music used in a movie (or television show), and/or to an album sold containing that music. Sometimes, the music has been recorded just for the film or album . Often, but not always, and depending on the type of movie, the soundtrack album will contain portions of the score, music composed for dramatic effect as the movie's plot occurs. In 1908, Camille Saint-Saëns composed the first music specifically for use in a motion picture (L'assasinat du duc de Guise), and releasing recordings of songs used in films became prevalent in the 1930s. Henry Mancini, who won an Emmy Award and two Grammys for his soundtrack to Peter Gunn, was the first composer to have a widespread hit with a song from a soundtrack.
By convention, a soundtrack record can contain all kinds of music including music "inspired by" but not actually appearing in the movie; the score contains only music by the original film's composer(s).
Soundtrack may also refer to music used in video games. While sound effects were nearly universally used for action happening in the game, music to accompany the gameplay was a later development. Rob Hubbard and Martin Galway were early composers of music specifically for video games for the 1980s Commodore 64 computer. Koji Kondo was an early and important composer for Nintendo games. As the technology improved, polyphonic and often orchestral soundtracks replaced simple monophonic melodies starting in the late 1980s and the soundtracks to popular games such as the Dragon Quest and Final Fantasy series began to be released separately. In addition to compositions written specifically for video games, the advent of CD technology allowed developers to incorporate licensed songs into their soundtrack (the Grand Theft Auto series is a good example of this). Furthermore, when Microsoft released the Xbox in 2001, it featured an option allowing users to customize the soundtrack for certain games by ripping a CD to the hard-drive.
Often, in advertisements or store listings, soundtrack albums are confused with original cast albums. These are albums made with the original stage cast of a Broadway musical, and are recorded by the cast either in live performance or in a studio, not transferred from a movie soundtrack.
In some cases, recorded dialogue may be incorporated into the soundtrack album. This comes in two kinds: audio clips from the movie itself (used on the albums for Pulp Fiction and Apollo 13, for example) or radio dramas that involve the characters from the movie involved in other events (example: King of Pirates, from FLCL). The unusual 1956 soundtrack album of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz was virtually a condensed version of the film, with enough dialogue on the album for the listener to be able to easily follow the plot, as was the first soundtrack album of the 1968 Romeo and Juliet, and the soundtrack albums of The Taming of the Shrew, Cromwell, and Little Big Man. In the case of Patton, the bulk of the album featured the film's musical score, while the opening and final tracks featured George C. Scott's opening and closing speeches from the movie. The highly unusual soundtrack album of the 1972 mystery film Sleuth was designed as a sort of teaser, with Laurence Olivier and Michael Caine's voices heard for the first three minutes, after which the dialogue was abruptly cut off and the musical score of the film took over, forcing listeners to actually see the film if they wished to know what the mystery was all about.
In a few rare instances, the complete soundtrack for a film — dialogue, music, sound effects, etc — has been released. One notable example was a 3-LP set of the 1977 Rankin-Bass film The Hobbit. Because this particular film was produced for television, it lent itself well to the LP format: built-in commercial insert points were used to end each LP side, thus avoiding any additional editing. Another example was the above-mentioned Zeffirelli Romeo and Juliet - the movie proved so popular that two years after the film's original release, an album set of the complete soundtrack was released.