Sonic and Compositional Strategies in Film Music
University of Zaragoza
Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg/Universität Wien
Maria Teresa Soldani
Università di Pisa / Centro per l’arte contemporanea Luigi Pecci
Università “La Sapienza” di Roma
Università degli Studi di Udine
Dead men talking: how Sonic Imagination works in Our Town (1940), Laura (1944), and D.O.A. (1949)
Costanza Salvi (University of Zaragoza)
The question is: why did Hollywood find particularly intriguing and beneficial the introduction of the redundancy of twice-told stories? While in Our Town (1940) posthumous narrators are giving fatherly advices manifesting, like dark prophets and oracles, ethical principles of life, the last scene of Laura (1944) suggests a dead narrator who has recounted from his realm a nostalgic story about loss and frustrations. The confused and idiosyncratic voice telling the story of the protagonist’s drowsed and exhausted life in D.O.A. (1949) expresses a paranoid condition more attuned to the next decade. The apparent redundancy of twice-told stories is thus explained not only by the aim of directly addressing the audience and availing their efforts to make sense of the world but also as a method to acquire a sonic imagination that would provide a port of entry to guarantee the audiovisual unity of the fictive universe.
Genre cinema, music and plurimedial interrelations of Homeland
Maria Fuchs (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg/Universität Wien)
Music and film are essential constructive elements of the discourse about “homeland” in the German - speaking world of the 20th century. Heide Fehrenbach emphatically pointed out that the popular German Heimatfilme of the 1950s not only tell stories about their homeland, but that the filmed landscapes and showcased musical performances rather define this genre elementarily, regardless of the film plot. These two aspects contribute to its specific form of a visual as well as auditory spectacle, which has been widely disseminated through commercial marketing strategies.
The paper aims to reconstruct the compositional strategies for the depiction of landscapes, locations and narratives associated with the German-language Heimatfilm. In addition, the aim of this paper is to analyse the transmedia marketing of the music used in the films, the songs in particular. Finally, the continuity of the “soundscapes” of “Heimat” in postwar Germany to film productions of the Nazi era are to be reflected.
Pump Up the Volume: defining the American Independent Cinema through music, 1970-2000s
Maria Teresa Soldani (Università di Pisa / Centro per l’arte contemporanea Pecci)
This paper aims at exploring the key, deep relation between music and moving images that defines the so-called “American Independent Cinema” (King 2005, 2013) as a film culture. This body of works is grounded in the scene-based approach of the underground punk/rock music, which has been familiar to the independent filmmakers by the 1970s (e.g., No Wave). A pattern of DIY practices and media shared by musicians, filmmakers, screenwriters, and actors in common spaces is at the core of these film productions' strategies since the 1970s, becoming more than an alliance in the 1990s and the 2000s. According to Shank (1994) and Kruse (2003) the act of sharing the same live experience and listening culture defines the idea of a “scene”, in which performers and audience are both active parts of a “whole”. Thus, according to Newman (2009, 2011) and Staiger (2013), the indie film culture is characterized by a special relationship that the film is able to establish with the viewer, starting from the idea of a double position of the filmmaker as a film spectator.
The voice of images. The sound editing and the listener/spectator in Pietro Marcello's films
Alma Mileto (Università "La Sapienza" di Roma)
Pietro Marcello has always used sound as a link between images, in a discontinuous montage, often enriched byfound-footage, whose complexity requires the intervention of a second expressive plan, the one given by a voice that nourishes "like an umbilical cord" (see Michel Chion) the visual line. The off-screen commentary in the documentary goes through three different phases: the omniscient and aseptic voice of God of the 1930s newsreels, the self-narrating (often reflective) of the director in a form of documentary that becomes "observational" or "participatory" (50s-60s) and a more emphatic and direct voice, involved in the events, that the author defines as "performative" (70s-80s). Besides, Nichols identifies a "lyric-poetic" plane of the voice which, starting from the origins and up to the 1950s and 1960s, moves on images asynchronously, adding a new level of meaning that interacts with them dialectically. Today, in the contemporary documentary and in an author like Marcello, it would seem that it is precisely the latter category that is privileged.
Silence, nature sounds and interaction between traditional composition and sound art: the aural dimension in “The Revenant”.
Armando Ianniello (Università degli studi di Udine)
The aural dimension in Revenant can be analyzed starting from the combination of musical elements defined in the score and additions generated through the sound art techniques. The interaction between these components creates a soundscape according to the theory formulated by the Canadian composer Raymond Murray Schafer, who based the soundscape theory on the relationships among keynote sounds, sounds signals and soundmarks. The collaboration between Alva Noto and Ryuichi Sakamoto is based on the experimental works on sound like Vrion, Insen, Revep, produced at the first decade of the 21st century. Sakamoto applies the principle of composing with Silence and nature sounds. These ideas are at the base of the aural dimension building in The Revenant music score.
The focus of the paper will consist mainly of analyzing where and how the silence and sound build a new way of composing music in cinema landscape.