Comm. Essay

5517 WordsJan 4, 201323 Pages
THE ROLE OF MUSIC COMMUNICATION IN CINEMA Scott D. Lipscomb & David E. Tolchinsky Northwestern University ABSTRACT [Authors’ note: This paper is an abbreviated version of a chapter included in a forthcoming book entitled Music Communication (D. Miell, R. MacDonald, & D. Hargreaves, Eds.), to be published by Oxford University Press.] Past research leaves no doubt about the efficacy of music as a means of communication. In the following pages, after presenting a general model of music communication, the authors will introduce models – both empirical and theoretical – of film music perception and the role of music in film, referencing some of the most significant research investigating the relationship between sound and image in the cinematic context. We shall then enumerate the many ways in which the motion picture soundtrack can supplement, enhance, and expand upon the meaning of a film’s narrative. The relationship between the auditory and visual components in cinema is both active and dynamic, affording a multiplicity of possible relations than can evolve – sometimes dramatically – as the narrative unfolds. This paper will take a cognitive approach to the study of musical communication in cinema. As a result, much credence will be given to the results of empirical research investigating human cognitive processing in response to the motion picture experience. In conclusion, the present authors will argue for a more inclusive definition of the term “film music” than that utilized or implied in previous publications. In our view, film music is one component of a sonic fabric that includes the musical score, ambient sound, dialogue, sound effects, and silence. The functions of these constituent elements often overlap or interact with one another, creating a harmonious counterpoint to the visual image. 1. A MODEL OF MUSIC

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