Honors International Film and Music

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IDSC 480-0 CRN Honors International Film and Music
J-Term 2013 – MW 9:00-12:00 BEC 111
Professors: Chris Kachian (Music Undergrad) and Jim Snapko (English)

The purpose of this seminar is to explore the narrative connections between film and music. Films from all over the world will be addressed. The course begins with an introduction to film: its history and practice. Instructors provide the theoretical perspective to film, e.g. the language filmmakers use to create meaning - through editing, cinematography, acting, screenplay - coupled with examining key characteristics of orchestration, and the concept of sound as “interpretation”. Some basic questions we will consider are: What do we learn about a filmmaker's creative decision making through the marriage of film and music?  How does the film score reinforce, amplify, identify, or fortify the film? What ideas or expressions are presented and prolonged with the music?  How does music enhance these ideas? What issues are in conflict or opposition?  How are they illuminated or resolved in the music? How does that influence the ongoing story? How does the musical language reflect the time period/setting of the film?  How is it characteristic or unique? How does music reinforce, amplify, identify, and fortify the film? What film techniques are used to express the ideas and themes in the film without the aid of the music?
 
While there are many theoretical and critical approaches to analyzing foreign films and their music it is important to keep in mind that American cinema does play a role in investigating works from other nations. Simply put, Hollywood has been the dominant force in film for almost 100 years and most countries, if not all, are influenced by American made movies. That said, it's also important to analyze these films on their own aesthetic terms.
 
This course operates on the belief that formal analysis is a skill that is best developed through application and discussion. We will often focus the class around a step-by-step analysis of specific sequences, based upon mutual brainstorming as the primary teaching method. Students will be required to write and present on a relevant film and music research topic at the end of the semester.

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