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11 pages/≈3025 words
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Visual & Performing Arts
English (U.S.)
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Film Music after 1950 Visual & Performing Arts Essay (Essay Sample)


Choose any film by Jean-Luc Goddard (except ‘Vivre Sa Vie’) and discuss ways in which its soundtrack deviates from classic Hollywood norms
- Why did the orchestral score disappear from certain genres?
- What other musical strategies are used to replace the continuity score?
- What wider/different cultural and musical meanings can be engaged by using non-orchestral music?
- Please note this question is probably most appropriate when applied to Independent Films rather than more commercial, mainstream cinema.
- How is the music operating within the narrative?
- What kind of music is present in the film (e.g. electronic music / sound design, orchestral music, popular music, global music).
- How does music co-create the film’s main themes (including, as appropriate, issues of culture, philosophy, politics, identity, etc.) in the audiovisual language?
- What is the role of the different types of music in the film? Does the music develop and if so how?
- Are there still trace elements of Classic Hollywood approaches in the way film’s music functions, and if so, which of Gorbman’s observations from Unheard Melodies still hold true?
- What theorists apart from Gorbman can you use to help untangle the issues?
- Use specific scene analyses to support your arguments.
- Use scholarly quotations/references to help you discuss the issues.


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The use of musical soundtracks in film is not a new concept in history. Historically, humans have used music in almost every aspect of their lives, implying that introduction of music to the film industry was not a new aspect. However, the use of musical soundtracks has been used in different styles and it is Jean-Luc Goddard that successfully experimented with this technique to transform the French Film industry. “Breathless” is a 1960 film by Jean-Luc Goddard. The film revolves around the life of an American criminal on the run who falls in love with a French journalist. Goddard directed this film in 1960 and it has been called a revolutionary film in the film industry due to its deviation from traditional Hollywood performances. There are various deviations from Hollywood movies, but this paper will focus on the aspect of soundtrack deviations in the movie. The main soundtrack in the movie is that of Piano legend Martial Solal (Fordham, J., 2010). Solal has composed more than twenty scores for movies in his lifetime and his score in “Breathless” was the first to introduce him to the movie scene. Both Solal and Goddard were inspired by a common aspect of breaking with traditions. Goddard did not give Solal specific instructions on the soundtrack, allowing the pianist to give his best in the movie which eventually marked adorable reception when the movie was released in 1960.

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