The Aesthetic Functionality of Film Music based on Cooperation and Counteraction of Tensities, Illustrated in Film Music of Robert Fleming
Godsalve, William Herbert Louis
A hypothesis to explain the aesthetic. functionality of music in film is propounded and then proved by an illustration of its operation in a film with music by Robert Fleming. The role of music in film is problematic not only on account of its artificial presence there, its highly complex nature, and its inability to represent or symbolize anything with certainty, but also because of the complicated relationships between it and the other filmic elements. Citing forty-five and naming seventy-one sources, the study presents (a) an analysis of film into its functional elements (four dramatic ingredients constituting its·message, projected by four audiovisual components constituting the film medium), and (b) Leonard B. Meyer's theory of functionality in absolute music based on its inherent stylistic features and relationships, and the listener's expectations from the music's implications. Every element possesses attributes perceived, as the film unfolds, to be absent or present in varying degrees, so that a normal degree of presence of an. attribute within the film can be established, and departures from it--abnormalities-can be identified. These abnormalities generate tensions, the norms relaxations. Tensity, subsuming tension and relaxation, is thus a common factor of every attribute of every filmic element, forming a basis for comparison between one element and another. Relationships between tensities are distinguished as cooperation when a tension or a relaxation in one attribute is accompanied by a similar tensity in another, or as counteraction when a tension and a relaxation are associated. A procedure for resolving multitensities is given. Filmwatchers respond intellectually, emotionally, and physically to these cooperatibns'and"counteractions, and-accordingly the hypothesis is propounded: THERE EXISTS AN AESTHETIC FUNCTIONALITY OF FILM MUSIC BASED ON THE RELATIONSHIPS OF COOPERATION AND COUNTERACTION BETWEEN TENSITIES IN THE MUSIC AND THE OTHER ELEMENTS OF THE FILM. Other sources of functionality are mentioned. The 28-minute film Antonio, divided into forty-seven sequences, is examined in the light of the hypothesis, first establishing norms and abnormalities for the musical parameters, and then, sequence by sequence, identifying the cooperations and counteractions of tensities in the music and the other filmic elements. The results of the examination are summarized, and the hypothesis is asserted to be true in the one test film. To conclude the study, some implications for further research are stated.