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The Psychology of Music in Multimedia$
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Siu-Lan Tan, Annabel J. Cohen, Scott D. Lipscomb, and Roger A. Kendall

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199608157

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199608157.001.0001

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Musical analysis for multimedia: A perspective from music theory

Musical analysis for multimedia: A perspective from music theory

(p.89) Chapter 5 Musical analysis for multimedia: A perspective from music theory
The Psychology of Music in Multimedia

David Bashwiner

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the contribution that traditional music theory and analysis can make to empirical psychological studies of multimedia. Two pieces are examined in detail: Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, which appears numerous times throughout Oliver Stone’s film Platoon, and the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which accompanies the climactic scene of Tom Hooper’s film The King’s Speech. The dramatic role played by each of these pieces is highly complex, this chapter argues, and thus not entirely captured by the sorts of descriptors commonly employed in empirical studies, such as ‘sadness’ and ‘positive mood.’ Fully understanding a musical excerpt’s dramatic role in a multimedia context—including interactions with spoken text and camerawork—in many cases requires detailed analysis of musical structure. This chapter aims to inform readers of the value of musical analysis for the study of multimedia and to illustrate instances in which musico-structural analysis clearly contributes to dramatic interpretation.

Keywords:   psychology, music theory, musical analysis, film music, film score, emotion, The King’s Speech, Ludwig van Beethoven Allegretto of Seventh Symphony, Platoon, Samuel Barber Adagio for Strings

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