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Title: Classical music in narrative film : strategies for use and analysis
Author: Duncan, Dean William
ISNI:       0000 0000 5273 9035
Awarding Body: University of Glasgow
Current Institution: University of Glasgow
Date of Award: 2000
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The present study deals with the use of classical music in narrative film, and some of the theoretical and historical considerations that can help us contextualize and understand that use. The following is a list of chapters, and a summary of concepts contained therein. CHAPTER ONE: After briefly considering some of the challenges of interdisciplinary scholarship, I will review the literature on classical music in the sound film. This review will touch upon the early (1930s and 1940s) commentaries of Kurt London, Hanns Eisler and Theodor Adorno, and John Huntley, and then pass on to a kind of concensus held between both commentators and composers of the 1960s and 1970s. Finally I will review the work of more recent film music scholars who, along with some others working in other fields, provide what I feel to be a more open model for understanding this kind of film music. CHAPTER TWO: Having reviewed the position of the film music community, this chapter will concern some responses of music critics to film music generally, and the appropriation of classical music in particular. I will outline specific complaints and criticisms, and attempt to show some of the broader socio-musical issues that motivated them. CHAPTER THREE: This chapter will consider the musical parallelism associated with traditional Hollywood-type narratives, and then concentrate on the oppositional model (derived from "montage" aesthetics) represented by Soviet and other modernist cinemas. I will deal especially with the influential "counterpoint analogy, " and consider how musical discourse can resolve some of the confusions that this analogy has habitually presented. CHAPTER FOUR: The last chapter will have presented a counterpoint based on musical principles as a possible analogy or metaphor for how film music works, and how its meaning and affect can be understood. This chapter is about the programme music tradition that prevailed in the nineteenth century. I will enumerate some of its sin-fflarities, musically and in terms of its critical reception by the music community, to film music. I will explore how programmes, or extra-musical narratives, are also central to understanding musical meaning, and to the use of classical music in films. CHAPTER FIVE: Here I will look more closely at montage, meaning, and classical music on film. A number of questions will be addressed. What are the interpretive strategies that most apply? How does musical meaning function in a film context, especially with regard to source music? Beyond classical music in general, what is the importance of periods, idioms, composers and specific pieces? What is the significance of the artist's intent? What about when the artist is not fully in control of his circumstances, or of his craft? What of phenomenology? All of these expansions obviously complicate the equation. Accordingly the concept of indeterminacy will be reviewed to suggest how both chance and control operate within musical montage. CHAPTER SIX: I will suggest and expand upon some of the extra-musical implications of this study. I will suggest some of the possibilities these raise for future research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: N Visual arts (General) ; PN1993 Motion Pictures