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MUS2310 (23)

Summaries of Lectures 1 until 7

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University of Ottawa
Paul A Merkley

Class 1  Music = responsive to images  Image track = film  Image, soundtrack & dialogue make up a movie Silent films  Accompanied by music, but music wasn’t right on the film  “Talkies” – 1929  1933 – “Wall-to-wall sound” (Max Steiner)  40’s-50’s = Golden Age of silent films – composers signed exclusivity contracts to studios o 1949 – Supreme Court ended exclusivity contracts, breakup of studio monopolies  High Noon – 1 film to contain a song  Example: Alice in Wonderland – music gets higher (more tension), music plays a key role, different than Disney where the rabbit sings, mode/key affects mood/thoughts o Glissando for sliding down the rabbit hole = Mickey-Mousing (synchronizing the rhythm in the music with the movement/action on the screen  Most people don’s consciously listen to the music during a movie  Early silent films – music was at the discretion of the pianist/organist  Distribution/standardization between theatres by using a cue sheet  If there wasn’t music for it, they would use classical music or try their own  Distributor colour-coded music for cues (based on basic emotions)  Silent film music was generally responsive, not too much in detail o Very generic, steady flow even when more shocking events happen  *COUNTERPOINT – music doesn’t match the events on the screen  Music = point of view  Musical cues – right before = spoiler, same time = comedy/horror, right after = reinforce emotion  Wall-to-wall music soundtrack – stop = something bad about to happen  Trombones = death (since early English theatre)  Wagner: Leitmotif/motive = short segment associated with a character/thing Class 2  Conflict between director (forward in time) and musician (tendency to repeat)  2 influences on film music: o 1) Traditions of silent film o 2) Music of Wagner  Musical alphabet is like the days of the week – repeat after the 7 note/day  The space between the same letter name = octave  Dissonance resolves to consonance  C to C = major scale (key to happiness); semitones on 3-4 and 7-1  A to A = minor scale (sad); semitones on 2-3 and 6-7 th  7 = leading tone, *TENSION  Tonality = goal, force in music  Cadence = question mark (open, antecedent) or period (closed, consequent)  Theme – all elements must work together  Imperial March o Trombone = death, harp = Heaven o Key/tonality by assertion (use of repetition to establish tonality)  Feels like it will end on that note  Symmetry – equal amount of notes above & below o Leitmotif of Vader – theme (complete musical thought), not just a couple of notes (motive)  Meter – duple (2 or 4, march) vs. triple (dance, waltz)  Syncopation = not following typical meter patterns (i.e. Jaws motive)  Triads = 3 notes played together o Major = 4 (bottom) + 3 (top); Minor = 3 (bottom) + 4 (top) o Symmetry (diminished, augmented) – ear doesn’t know where it’s going o Diminished = uncertainty  Dissonance = most expressive element of music  Before Wagner – rule was that the consonance had to be at least as long as the dissonance th th  7 chord (1, 3, 5, 7) – know Dominant 7 chord  Augmented 4 /diminished 5 = tritone (3 whole tones) = DEVIL  Balance – too much of 1 note in a triad unbalances it (like in the Imperial March)  Sequence = musical pattern  Music takes the path of most resistance, takes time to resolve  Syncopation – Shakespeare in Love dance scene, Jaws  X-files – open cadences Class 3  Citizen Kane o Overture – title music sets the mood (Opera overtures – comic vs. serious) o Oboe & bassoon = untrustworthy, Theremin (dissonance) o Rosebud motive – motive remains but elements can change – rhythm, instrumentation, register, key, major/minor, inversion, direction (backward), split up, harmonization, rearrangement o *Music has to help the drama, shouldn’t stick out/distract from story; immersive experience o Unity of time, place and action (Greek Theatre); unity of music (film) o Vertical or horizontal shot (camera) – Russian montage / dynamic editing → disoriented, complements dissonance in the music  Dynamic editing = maximum contrast shots  Narrative editing = edit in chronological order of shots o Motivic coherence, dissonance/contrast in range/instruments, image & presentation  Music doesn’t change with the picture – it would be too much o Intro – music = in the open (no sound effects or dialogue → foregrounded) o Non-diegetic/underscore – not coming from inside story; musical accompaniment o Non-diegetic silence / underscore falls silent – when light goes off, music stops o Diegetic soundtrack – source music – comes from within the story  Snow globe breaks, music indicates it – non-diegetic, music fills in for diegetic sound  Character is stad rd o Subjective vs. Objective – 1 vs. 3 person camera & music o Main idea of film = main motive o Background/non-diegetic music with motive, diegetic = rainstorm, jazz music overlaps with it o Jazz club scene – high music, disturbing/depression/suspense; trumpets = descending, going down into the restaurant  Character – fallen from a great height in life o Lawyer scene – starts with bells, major, high, long, sweeping, carefree melodies, quick → happy child; Rosebud motive  Rosebud = sleigh, symbolizes lost childhood & innocence  Mother sold him to a lawyer – cause for all of his problems o Celebration scene – joyful, success – happy non-diegetic music replacing dialogue o Diegetic – marching band, vaudeville, festive o High, uncomfortable music, heights (music stitches shots together, carries us through transitions) o Interview scene – music = flute & oboe behind the dialogue, sad violin (tells us to side with Kane despite what the man is saying) o Breakfast table – music behind the dialogue in a different register than the speaking register (not in competition); repetition (theme & variations) – goes from graceful to rushed/tense  Oboe = marriage is over; brass = newspaper o Charlie & other lady – rosebud theme (he is in search of his lost youth, finds innocence with her despite not having a lot in common) Class 4  Foregrounded music – enough importance that you have to hear it consciously  Minority Report o 1. Tension, suspense, segmented/broken up, dissonance o 2. Music = less prominent, hanging
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