This course is an exploration of the history and aesthetics of the use of music in cinema, primarily the Hollywood film from the so-called silent era to the present. (We will not cover musicals, documentaries, or short films.) The course will include the development of skills of listening analysis and writing about music in the context of narrative film. There are no prerequisities; no background in music or film history is required.
Assignments: There will be several short assignments that will include reading and listening responses and online quizzes. Readings will come both from the textbook and articles on Sakai, and listening lists will be online at the Claremont Libraries website.
In-class spotting: About half of each class session will be devoted to a film screening. During this screening you will note the time and content of music cues, a process known as spotting. If you are absent on the day of a film screening, you can make up the spotting assignment only if the absence was excused.
Paper: You will create a spotting sheet and write a 1500-word interpretive analysis on the score for a single feature-length film (not a musical). Your grade will depend in part on the submission of a film selection, spotting sheet and outline, bibliography, and revision.
Presentation: You will present to the class an interpretative analysis of a single scene or topic from the film that you have written your paper on. These presentations will be evaluated in part by peers. The time you spend speaking during the presentation may not exceed 10 minutes.
|Date||Topics||In-class film||Assignments due|
|Jan. 25||Aesthetics of film music, Music and the Silent Film||John Williams: Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone|
|Feb. 1||Leitmotifs and the Romantic Legacy||Max Steiner: Casablanca||Assignment 1 due|
|Feb. 8||Modernism in early sound films||Aaron Copland: Of Mice and Men||Assignment 2 due|
Film choice form submitted
|Feb. 15||The 1940s and 50s and the Decline of the Studio System||David Raksin: Laura||Assignment 3 due|
|Feb. 22||Bernard Herrmann||Bernard Herrmann: Psycho||Assignment 4 due|
Paper bibliography due
|Mar. 1||The Western from the 1930s to the 1960s||Ennio Morricone: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly||Assignment 5 due|
Paper spotting sheet, outline due
|Mar. 8||Modernism in the 1960s and 70s||Jerry Goldsmith: The Omen||Assignment 6 due|
|Mar. 15||John Williams and the return of Romanticism||John Williams: ET: The Extraterrestrial||Paper due|
|Mar. 22||Spring break|
|Mar. 29||Caesar Chavez Day|
|Apr. 5||The influence of Minimalism|
|Philip Glass: The Illusionist|
|Apr. 12||Presentations||John Corigliano: The Red Violin|
|Apr. 26||Guest Speaker||Paper revision|
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