Download Beyond the Soundtrack: Representing Music in Cinema PDF

TitleBeyond the Soundtrack: Representing Music in Cinema
PublisherUniversity of California Press
ISBN 139780520940550
CategoryArts - Film
File Size2.5 MB
Total Pages333
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Introduction. Phonoplay: Recasting Film Music
	1. The Boy on the Train, or Bad Symphonies and Good Movies: The Revealing Error of the “Symphonic Score”
	2. Representing Beethoven: Romance and Sonata Form in Simon Cellan Jones’s Eroica
	3. Minima Romantica
	4. Melodic Trains: Music in Polanski’s The Pianist
	5. Mute Music: Polanski’s The Pianist and Campion’s The Piano
	6. Opera, Aesthetic Violence, and the Imposition of Modernity: Fitzcarraldo
	7. Sight, Sound, and the Temporality of Myth Making in Koyaanisqatsi
	8. How Sound Floats on Land: The Suppression and Release of Folk and Indigenous Musics in the Cinematic Terrain
	9. Auteur Music
	10. Transport and Transportation in Audiovisual Memory
	11. The Fantastical Gap between Diegetic and Nondiegetic
	12. Early Film Themes: Roxy, Adorno, and the Problem of Cultural Capital
	13. Before Willie: Reconsidering Music and the Animated Cartoon of the 1920s
	14. Side by Side: Nino Rota, Music, and Film
	15. White Face, Black Noise: Miles Davis and the Soundtrack
	16. Men at the Keyboard: Liminal Spaces and the Heterotopian Function of Music
Notes on Contributors
Works Cited
Index of Films Cited
Index of Names
Document Text Contents
Page 2


Page 166

A U T E U R M U S I C / 1 5 7

story, then, the music is another element in the crisscrossing series. The
Beethoven sometimes seems to comment on the Carmen story, but despite
our desire for musical syntax and affect, the music is interrupted more often
than not, splintered, yielding to silence or noise or dialogue or mixed with
them to the edge of incoherence.

In a scene late in the film, the string quartet pauses during their play to
discuss the music. When the male violinist comments about the violence of
the musical passage at hand, our impulse is to interpret: we link that musi-
cal violence with the physical violence of the bank robbery scene with which
it is interwoven. At other moments during the robbery, the music on the
soundtrack is interrupted by gunshots and is silenced momentarily, as if in
shocked response to the gunshots. But Godard constantly reminds us that
the aleatory effects of his audiovisual editing are just as important: there is
musical silence, too, and there is the comic artifice of the scene as some bank
patrons sit around and read, oblivious to the “dangerous” shootout unfold-
ing around them. Even as the film tells its story or stories, it continues to
proclaim that making sense of editing takes place in the viewer’s head.

Godard’s films constantly quote other works, and musical quotations can
create knots of meaning. In Eloge de l’amour (2001) the protagonist Edgar,
having walked along the Seine with a young woman, stands with her under
a footbridge to look across at the shuttered Renault factory at Billancourt.
Over shots of the river, one of Maurice Jaubert’s theme songs from L’Ata-
lante (Vigo, 1934) is heard in its original form. How does this citation work?
The song instantly evokes life on the Seine, the working-class milieu of
L’Atalante, and the very nostalgia itself evoked by a classic of French cin-
ema. Inserted into the new setting of a Seine with a big rusting automobile
plant, the song poignantly plays into Eloge de l’amour’s thematics of his-
toire and l’Histoire, of (love) stories and History, and of the state that is in-
capable of love. The past politicizes the present and vice versa, enriching a
scene where the characters both serve as mouthpieces for ideas, and deli-
cately suggesting the potential for a relationship. As Douglas Morrey
writes, “Eloge de l’amour implies . . . that we have to work at history, and
the complex montage of Godard’s film, which requires the spectator to work
to reconstruct a narrative, seeks to demonstrate this sense of history as an
active process. . . . Eloge de l’amour implies that we can learn not only from
the history of resistance, but also from the resistance of history, its funda-
mental incompatibility with easy solutions and the difficulty of its appro-

In conventional cinema, music’s syntax is surely secondary to narrative
syntax. The arc and timing of music is normally subordinated to the de-

Page 167

1 5 8 / C L A U D I A G O R B M A N

mands of the scene, but a set of long-established rules “softens” the way the
narrative flow determines the length of music cues—making music elastic
to fit the form of the scene, fading music up or down rather than cutting it
off abruptly, and so on. For Godard, music is a montage element, subject to
radical disruption and placed in dialectical relationships with the image and
other soundtrack elements. On one level, Godard’s music foregrounds the
arbitrariness of all film elements; it is difficult to experience it as “invisibly”
reinforcing the mood of narrative scenes. On another level, music carries
cultural meaning, as part of the vast reservoir of references from which Go-
dard draws. His characters speak lines from poets and philosophers, images
from European painting and cinema are recontextualized, and even charac-
ters’ names borrow from literary and cultural texts. Finally, although Go-
dard may truncate music cues, he does not murder them; music retains its
evocative and emotive force.

Melomania may be at work even in the films of directors who hardly use
music at all. The Taiwanese director Tsai Ming-Liang sets his stories in the
contemporary, crowded, alienating technological landscape of Taipei. His
films convey a world of water-soaked apartments, anonymous sexual en-
counters, fractured nuclear families, and desperate loneliness. Dark as they
are, they hold out the slim possibility of redemption and human commun-
ion, and amid their sadness they are comical. The films deploy music very
sparingly, since they are so concretely rooted in the absurd prison of the
present; sound effects predominate, and dialogue is sparse. But when music
does appear, it conveys a flood of memory, or it suggests an escape to a more
bearable world of fantasy for the characters.

In an otherwise musicless story, for example, there is a transcendent mo-
ment in Tsai’s 2001 film What Time Is It There? The protagonist (Lee Kang-
Sheng) becomes fixated on a girl who has gone off to Paris. He rents a
French movie, Truffaut’s Les Quatre cents coups (1959), in order to feel
nearer to her. The segments of The 400 Blows we see from Lee’s repetitive
viewings comment on his own anomie. Both films’ young protagonists are
lost souls in modern urban society, yearning for escape. A wisp of the
Georges Delerue score is heard as Lee watches a scene on his VCR, and as
the only music cue in the entire film, it takes on considerable weight.
Though it functions primarily to develop Lee’s character as obsessed with
the girl (the Paris connection), and to draw thematic parallels between the
two films, it is also Tsai’s personal ode to Truffaut. Just as Jean-Pierre Léaud
was Truffaut’s screen alter ego, so is Lee for Tsai Ming-Liang. The poignant

Page 332

Schumann, Robert, 51–52, 89–90, 216,

Schutt, Edouard, 209
Scorsese, Martin, 151
Scotti, Antonio, 118n26
Seger, Bob, 148
Selznick, David O., 20
Sembrich, Marcella, 118n26
Sennett, Mack, 221
Severina, Gina, 118n26
Shaffer, Paul, 262
Shakespeare, William, 102
Shellac, 138
Shostakovich, Dmitry, 152
Sibelius, Jan, 22
Silvers, Louis, 216
Sinatra, Frank, 173–74, 177
Sinn, Clarence E., 210
Sipe, Thomas, 30, 35
Solomon, Maynard, 45n17, 46n27
Sontag, Susan, 119n32
Sousa, John Philip, 259n17, 274
Spector, Phil, 266
Spielberg, Steven, 151
Stalling, Carl W., 229, 240
Steely Dan, 261
Steiner, Max, 14, 19, 20–21, 23, 52,

189, 250, 264
Stewart, Jimmy, 175, 282
Still, William Grant, 232
Stilwell, Robynn, 186–87
Stockhausen, Karlheinz, 138
Stohart, Herbert, 173
Stoppa, Paolo, 254
Strauss, Johann, 152, 246
Strauss, Richard, 48–50, 61, 63, 63n1,

100, 119n32, 152, 264
Stravinsky, Igor, 228, 248, 283
Streep, Meryl, 48, 57, 265
Sullivan, J. W. N., 35
Sun Ra, 138
Suppé, Franz von, 209, 218
Szwed, John, 270–71

Taj Mahal, 266–67, 275
Takemitsu, Toru, 143–44, 147
Tarantino, Quentin, 150–53, 161

Taylor, Deems, 228
Tchaikovsky, Pyotr Ilyich, 17, 22, 53,

219, 271
Technohead, 139
Terry, Paul, 240
Tetrazzini, Luisa, 118n26
Thayer, Alexander Wheelock, 32
Thomé, Francis, 209
Three Stooges, 115n11
Three Suns, 284
Thurban, T. W., 227
Thurman, Uma, 152
Tolstoy, Leo, 55
Tomlinson, Gary, 275
Tootell, George, 229
Tosti, Paolo, 218
Travolta, John, 152
Trotsky, Leon, 148
Truffaut, François, 158–60
Truscott, Harold, 18, 20
Tsai Ming-Liang, 153, 158–61,


Ussher, Bruno David, 21, 23
Utreger, René, 262

Van Gogh, Vincent, 260–61
Varda, Agnès, 149–50, 153
Velazco, Emil, 231–32, 243n18
Velvet Underground, 138
Verdi, Giuseppe, 102–3, 114n7, 116n14
Vigo, Jean, 150
Vincent, Gene, 272–73
Visconti, Lucino, 251
Vivaldi, Antonio, 155
Vogler, Rüdiger, 152
von Bülow, Hans, 35
von Deym, Josephine, 31, 45n12
von Meck, Nadezha, 17–18

Wackenroder, Wilhelm Heinrich, 16
Wagner, Cosima, 182n4
Wagner, Richard, 14–17, 35, 37, 53,

165–66, 205, 212, 215, 218–20, 222,
264, 277, 279, 281, 284, 288, 290n1

Waits, Tom, 155
Waller, Fats, 230

I N D E X O F N A M E S / 3 2 3

Page 333

Washington, Denzel, 61
Watteau, Jean-Antoine, 117n24
Weber, Carl Maria von, 209
Webster, Paul Francis, 181
Weill, Kurt, 150, 172
Weisel, J. Harold, 215
Wenders, Wim, 151–52
West, George, 229–30
Whorf, Benjamin Lee, 132–33
Wilen, Barney, 262
Williams, Andy, 259n20
Williams, Harry, 221
Williams, John, 14, 151
Williams, Raymond, 284

Willson, Meredith, 173
Wilson, Dooley, 168
Winfrey, Oprah, 260
Winkler, Max, 210
Wonder, Stevie, 261
Woolf, Virginia, 57–58, 62–63
Wright, Bob, 173

Yang Kuei-Mei, 159–60
Young, Christopher, 254

Zamecnik, J. S., 221, 231
Zamfir, Gheorghe, 152
Zeffirelli, Franco, 251

3 2 4 / I N D E X O F N A M E S

Similer Documents