Popular music is far more than just songs we listen to; its meanings are also in album covers, lyrics, subcultures, voices and video soundscapes. Like language these elements can be used to communicate complex cultural ideas, values, concepts and identities.
Analysing Popular Music is a lively look at the semiotic resources found in the sounds, visuals and words that comprise the ‘code book’ of popular music. It explains exactly how popular music comes to mean so much. Packed with examples, exercises and a glossary, this book provides the reader with the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their own analyses of songs, soundtracks, lyrics and album covers.
Written for students with no prior musical knowledge, Analysing Popular Music is the perfect toolkit for students in sociology, media and communication studies to analyze, understand, and celebrate, popular music.
Chapter 8: Analysing Music in Film
Analysing Music in Film
Through repetition in movies we have come to associate certain kinds of melodies and sounds with romance or danger, or with certain kinds of characters (Tagg, 1989). We can easily recognise that certain instruments and melodies communicate comedy (Mera, 2002) or kinds of settings and cultures (Cook, 1998). Tagg (1989) has attempted an inventory of the kinds of musical instruments and sounds that have come to make such associations. Much of this meaning comes from established musical repertoires from the 19th century. But this has later merged with developing film-making techniques and conventions, recording technology and the more recent use of pop music.
This chapter draws on principles of film music described in earlier scholarly work and uses the ...