Music, Performance, and the Realities of Film
Shared Concert Experiences in Screen Fiction
To Be Published January 2nd 2014 by Routledge – 208 pages
Series: Routledge Research in Music
This book contributes to film music studies by examining the relationship between narrative film and reality, as seen through the lens of on-screen classical concert performance, highlighting the power of music in film to engage with our everyday world. By investigating these scenes, wherein the performance of music is foregrounded in the narrative, Winters uncovers how concert performance
reflexively articulates music's importance to the ontology of film. The book asserts that narrative film of a variety of aesthetic approaches and traditions is no mere copy of everyday reality, but constitutes its own filmic reality, and that the music heard in a film's underscore plays an important role in distinguishing film reality from the everyday. As a result, concert scenes are examined as sites for provocative interactions between these two realities, in which real-world musicians appear in fictional narratives, and an audience’s suspension of disbelief is problematised. In blurring the musical experiences of onscreen observers and participants, these concert scenes also allegorize music’s role in creating a shared subjectivity between film audience and character, and prompt Winters to propose a radically new vision of music’s role in narrative cinema. Questioning the diegetic vs. nondiegetic distinction of much existing film music theory, the book posits that music rarely narrates in film, but functions as an integral part of film reality. As such, the music heard in cinema is part of a shared audio-visual space that may be just as accessible to the characters as the music they encounter in scenes of concert performance.
Introduction Part I. The Real versus The Reel 1. Real Performers: The Musician as Actor 2. Reel Performers: Fictional Music and Musicians Part II. Film and Life: The Mirror of Film 3. Moments of Desperation and Peril: Hollywood and Concert Performance 4. Fantasizing, Visualizing, Miming: ‘Fictional’ Listening? 5. Hearing Symphonies Cinematically Part III. Film’s Musical Identity 6. The Concert as Drama; or the Dramatic Concert 7. Viewed from the Podium: Music and the Ontology of Film Bibliography Filmography Index
Benjamin Winters is Lecturer in Music at The Open University, UK.