American and La La Land - Musical Moments in Films, a Reflection of the Findings in Terms of Genre Specificity – Literature review Example

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The paper “ American and La La Land - Musical Moments in Films, a Reflection of the Findings in Terms of Genre Specificity” is a  dramatic example of a literature review on music. Often, music is not consciously recorded in the mind of the viewer based on the fact that it remains as what Claudia Gorman refers to as the‘ ’ unheard melody. ’ ’ According to Herzog (2010), customarily, music acts as a subordinate constituent in the narrative film by supplementing the image to guide the emotional responses of the audience to what they see on the screen.

It is essential to take note that although the integration of music into the film is unnoticed, its impacts are profound. In recent decades, there are many circumstances when music is incorporated into the film, it stabilizes the image and secures meaning. The music then becomes a dominant force in the work developing a musical moment. This paper seeks to examine two musical moments as defined by Amy Herzog and the impact of the musical moments in the narrative of two films; American Honey (2016) a drama road film and La La Land (2016) a romantic musical film. Herzog (2010), examines various types and definitions of musical moments.

One description that is articulated by the author is a unique type of musical moment that depends on a popular song/ music which inverts the image sound hierarchy to occupy the dominant position in film work. She examines the Jukebox musical as an example of a musical moment that adopts popular songs that were earlier released by popular artists. Kassabian (2001), divulges that during the 1980s, the number of films that scored with popular music soundtracks rose dramatically.

Films from different genres used top soundtracks. It is apparent that the trend exists in contemporary films. A case in point is the American honey a drama that uses popular soundtracks such a ‘ ’ We Found Love” by Rihanna and Calvin Harris Grace. Other songs include ‘ ’ I Don’ t Dance by Lee Brice and ‘ ’ Ride’ ’ by Ciara and Ludacris.   It can be argued that the musical moments in the movie American Honey impact the film narrative in various ways. Foremost, it can be debated that the musical moments that involve the integration of popular music into the storyline support the systematic use of the narrative style or framework to explain the entire storyline.

For instance, in the film; American Honey the musical moments are incorporated at the beginning of the movie during the exposition phase where the main character Star meets Jake. This establishes the tone of the movie. The Song ‘ ’ we found love’ ’ by Rihanna and Calvin Harris is played in the background. Also, during the rising action phase where the main character is entangled with hopelessness and does not feel like anyone cares, the musical moment is characterized by rap tracks such as Rae Sremmurd’ s “ No Type” and Big Sean’ s “ I Don’ t Fuck with You” are played.

Also, during the falling action stage and the resolution phase the Song ‘ ’ we found love’ ’ by Rihanna and Calvin Harris is introduced. Based on this fact, it is apparent that the musical moments in the film American Honey support the systematic use of the narrative style or framework in telling the events of the story.  

Reference

Altman, R. (2002) The American Film Musical as Dual-Focus Narrative in Steven Cohan( ed). Hollywood Musicals, The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, pp 41-51.

American Honey (2016).

Barber, N. (2016). Oscar glory predicted for romantic, nostalgic La La Land. BBC.

Cohan, S. (2002) Hollywood Musicals, the Film Reader. Psychology Press.

Dyer, R. (2002/1977) ‘Entertainment and Utopia’ in Steven Cohan (ed.) Hollywood Musicals, The Film Reader. New York: Routledge, pp. 19–30.

Herzog, A. (2010) ‘The Musical Moment’ in Dreams of Difference, Songs of the Same: The Musical Moment in Film. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Kassabian, K (2001). How music works in Film, in hearing film, tracking identification, contemporary Hollywood Film Music. New York: Routledge, pp 37-60.

La La Land (2016)

Reay, P. (2004) Music in Film: Soundtracks and Synergy. Wallflower Press.

Vernallis, C. (2013), ‘Accelerated Aesthetics: A New Lexicon of Time, Space, and Rhythm’ in Carol Vernallis, Amy Herzog & John Richardson (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Sound and Image in Digital Media. New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 707–731.

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