Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood Film by Kathryn Kalinak

By Kathryn Kalinak

Starting with the earliest experiments in musical accompaniment performed within the Edison Laboratories, Kathryn Kalinak makes use of archival fabric to stipulate the background of yankee song and picture. targeting the rankings of numerous key composers of the sound period, together with Erich Wolfgang Korngold’s Captain Blood, Max Steiner’s The Informer, Bernard Herrmann’s The awesome Ambersons, and David Raksin’s Laura, Kalinak concludes that classical scoring conventions have been designed to make sure the dominance of narrative exposition. Her analyses of latest paintings similar to John Williams’ The Empire moves again and Basil Poledouris’ RoboCop exhibit how the traditions of the classical period proceed to persuade scoring practices this present day.

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Levin argues that in "the ideological critique of the cinematic apparatus the focus was once again on the visual at the expense of the acoustic. neglecting as a result. " 20 Levin's critique has yet to be fully realized within contemporary film theory although its terrain was mapped out decades ago by Theodor W. Adorno. 21 Adorno and Eisler offer a critique of the visual bias inherent in postindustrialized society. Reversing the terms of the nineteenth century's equation of sight with objectivity and sound with subjectivity, Adorno and Eisler argue that visual bias in advanced capitalism is the result of the way society constructs reality through material goods.

A sketch is a rudimentary rendering of musical intention, sometimes consisting of melody and simple annotations for orchestration, sometimes more elaborate. Because of the restrictions imposed on composers by time, the sketch would frequently be passed on to other members of the music department for completion. The sketches of someone like Max Steiner, because of his close working relationships with his orchestrators and the extraordinary demands made on his services by the studio, often are rough.

The ear functions with the acuity of prolonged stimulation; its perception is based on sensitivity to the motion of sound waves which require duration. But the distinction between them has continually been distilled into the superiority of the eye over the ear as a perceptual mechanism. As I hope to demonstrate, classical film theory reproduces this bias, prioritizing the visual at the expense of the aural, and rendering problematic an uncritical adoption of its central and highly influential para20 A Theory of Film Music 21 digm for the relationship between sound and image: the transcendent power of the image and the dependence of the soundtrack.

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