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Lecture

Voices on Screen.docx
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Department
Music
Course
MUS-0035
Professor
Hannah Lewis
Semester
Spring

Description
Voices on Screen: Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Voice as a special sound ­ Expectations for realism o A voice emanates from a body ­ The voice is the primary conveyer for semantic information Transparency of Hollywood film (Feuer) ­ Typically, everything is hidden to keep us from remembering we’re watching a film Ideological issues of dubbing (Siefert) ­ Moral implications, ethical question of who’s getting credit ­ Deceiving: portrayed as realistic Unsettling when workings of cinema are exposed ­ Stress over female voice o Unity between voice and image (Smith) Singin’ in the Rain background ­ Musical from the Hollywood golden age ­ Voted best musical of all­time ­ Musical movies couldn’t exist until arrival of synchronized sound ­ Produced by Arthur Freed and the “Freed Unit” (MGM) o Turned studio into leading musical producer o Shaped career of Gene Kelly, Frank Sinatra, etc. o Known as a major producer of classical Hollywood film musicals (designed for  screen) o Had written lyrics for songs by Nacio Herb Brown ­ Screenplay by Betty Comden and Adolf Green o Lyricists and screenwriters that worked on Broadway and Hollywood o Comic genius and witty style o Worked with Leonard Bernstein ­ Gene Kelly (primarily known for athletic style of dancing), Jean Hagen (Lina Lamont),  Donald O’Connor (Cosmo Brown), Debbie Reynolds (Kathy Selden) Film’s representation of reality ­ Captures popular narrative of transition to sound film ­ Popular idea that The Jazz Singer that turned film industry on its head, but not entirely  true o Did result in rapid transformation ­ Some silent film stars didn’t transition well to sound era ­ Rush for musicals once people could be heard singing and seen dancing  Singing Dancing ­ Added narrative ­ Added rhythm ­ Not necessarily sincere; deceitful,  ­ Humorous forged ­ Sincere, honest ­ Supplemental, adds to the story ­ Jolly, spectacle ­ Used in serious situations ­ Added entertainment value ­ Representative of dialogue Gene Kelly’s singing­in­the­rain scene ­ Looks spontaneous, improvised, care­free ­ Diegetic or non­diegetic? o Typical answer: instances were music is diegetic (characters aware of song); in the  case where someone is so emotional they don’t notice they’re singing (non­ diegetic) ­ Setting the scene o Making it rain; puddles o Music was pre­existing, song pre­recorded, and dance was actually pre­planned  and rehearsed excessively (though it looked off­the­cuff) o Dance had to be choreographed to the set with idea of where cameras would be The Voice/Dubbing ­ Unlike dance, which is made to look effortless, dubbing shows the work involved to get  the voice on screen o Technological anxiety lurking beneath the surface ­ Cinematic representation of women in film ­ Ambivalence to partake in Hollywood’s mechanisms of illusion/transparency ­ Typical idea of unity of voice and body ­ Traces of dubbing covered up to maintain illusion ­ Usually, people were not credited as the voice of certain actors in films, even on the cast  recordings ­ Chion principles o Synchresis, added value, audiovisual contract Curtains­revealed scene ­ What your singing isn’t always what you feel ­ Fo
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