Description  Details

Discipline Music

Assignment type : Other types 


Select a film from the six options archived on the website–Pulp Fiction; 2001: A Space Odyssey; Pride and Prejudice; Sunset Boulevard; Star Wars; or Mulholland Drive. Your paper should argue a clear and original thesis about the use of music in your chosen film. You must use at least three primary or secondary sources (scholarly books and articles, reviews, interviews with the composer or director, etc.). Your paper should pay attention to both musical and cinematic techniques, and should use appropriate terminology.

The paper must be 5-7 complete pages, 12-point Times New Roman font, 1″ margins.

Acceptable sources include interviews with personnel involved with the film (director, composer, etc.), reviews in major newspapers (Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Rolling Stone, etc.), and scholarly articles or books. Unacceptable sources include Wikipedia, Rotten Tomatoes, Yelp, personal blogs, and other unedited internet sources. In searching for sources, you should start with the UW Library Catalog and JSTOR. Don’t just rely on Google!

The introduction should set forth a clear thesis statement, laying out your argument and giving your plan of attack. Here are some examples, taken from the lectures:

“The source music in Back to the Future plays a crucial role in the Oedipal drama played out by Marty and his parents. Marty’s guitar becomes a symbol of virility, and even fertility, as he seeks to repair his parents’ marriage and make a man out of his father. The climactic prom scene links music to Marty’s very survival, in fact, to the film medium itself. This paper will trace the role of the guitar symbol in Back to the Future, showing how it crosses the boundary between diegetic and non-diegetic music and enters into the very structure of the film narrative.”

“Bernard Herrmann’s score to Taxi Driver departs from his previous practice as a film composer. He used a jazz theme that repeats verbatim throughout the film, rather than a web of small symphonic motives. This unusual choice corresponds to Martin Scorcese’s self-conscious narrative technique, which deliberately violates the conventions of film narrative. This paper will show how Herrmann’s jazz theme becomes attached to voice-over narration, functioning as a symbol of Travis Bickle’s delusional autobiography. The symbolism of the LP record, the use of camera pans, and the coordination of Herrmann’s jazz theme with the act of writing work together to blur the distinction between truth and reality in Taxi Driver.”

In arguing your thesis, you should not simply go through the film chronologically. Move around as needed, following the train of the argument. Present your points in the most convincing fashion, rather than adhering to the film’s linear structure. Structure your paper around large topics (The Symbolism of the LP Record, Marty’s Guitar as Phallic Symbol, Music as Writing), using topic sentences to make general points and providing specific details to back them up.

Be detailed in your musical and verbal analyses! Don’t just characterize the mood of the music; explain what features account for that mood. Pay close attention to the cinematic techniques (camera work, point of view, etc.) as you discuss the function of music. I will be looking for close readings of the music and other elements.

Interpret your observations! Don’t just describe the musical choices; explain what they mean. Look for larger themes in the film (Oedipal struggles, writing, etc.), rather than simply focusing on the plot.

Format MLA

Academic Level: –

Volume of 2 pages (550 words)

Type of service: Custom writing

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