Charms that soothe: classical music and the narrative film by Dean Duncan

Charms that soothe: classical music and the narrative film by Dean Duncan

By Dean Duncan

From Chaplin’s significant use of Wagner within the Gold Rush to the Bach chorale last Scorsese’s on line casino, classical song has performed a desirable function in video clips.

Dean Duncan presents a clean serious survey of the aesthetics of classical track in movie. Exploring tensions among excessive artwork and advertisement tradition, Duncan examines how administrators quote topics and classical passages in genres starting from the Soviet avant garde to Hollywood romances. Drawing on movie conception, musicology, and cultural feedback, he clarifies the connections among very various artwork varieties.

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Ultimately no methodology is adequate to the present proliferation of film and film-musical activity or accounts for every individual instance. Given contemporary complications, I venture to say that it is in a systematic survey of approaches, in a balanced and measured utilization of all the best PLACE OF CLASSICAL MUSIC IN FILM STUDIES 27 critical constructs that the scholar, the practitioner, and the spectator will be best served, and will best serve. What are some of these constructs? For newcomers and seasoned readers alike, some of the basic methods remain useful.

23 I will continue to refer on occasion to the New Grove 2nd edition, but the bulk of my attention, particularly in this chapter, concerns the findings and attitudes of the 1954 and 1980 editions. Naturally over these one hundred years the tone of Grove’s changed considerably, and one of the most significant shifts pertains to the audience being addressed. ’’25 This partial change can be seen in many ways, and it has a number of important consequences. ’’ As D. W. 26 This antagonism was complex and not universal, but it can be at least partly ascribed to an increase in scholarly specialization, and to the elitism that sometimes goes with it, as I discussed in my first chapter.

Irving’s comments suggest that one of these is an adherence to the romantic ideology which exalts the artist and renders the work immutable. This marked high-low division underpins the above-quoted assumptions and would also account for what seems an excessively critical tone. Irving also demonstrates a perhaps self-conscious or self-justifying musical sophistication and displeasure when composition is not rigorous, or formally correct (conventional). 36 What is accomplished, then? Irving suggests that film music is used only to excite and subliminally influence audiences.

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