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Theories of the Soundtrack


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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction Five Vignettes of Early Sound Film The Hybridity of Sound Film Sound Film, an Audiovisual Medium Film Sound and "Occult Aesthetics" This Volume Chapter 2: Early Theories of Sound Film Introduction: The Specificity of the Sound Film The Statement on Sound and the Concept of Counterpoint Sergei Eisenstein and Counterpoint Vsevolod Pudovkin and Asynchronous Sound The Case of Deserter Perceptual Realism Bela Balazs and the Physiognomy of the Voice Rudolf Arnheim and the Unity of Sound Harry Potamkin and the Compound Cinema Chapter 3: Theories of the Classic Sound Film: Grammars and Typologies Introduction Sergei Eisenstein and Vertical Montage Modes of Synchronicity Aaron Copland and the Functions of Film Music Functions Reservations Hanns Eisler and Theodor W. Adorno and Critical Theory Contra Eisenstein The Negative Thesis: Sham Identity Bad Habits The Classical System and the Typological Analysis Raymond Spottiswoode and Film Grammar Siegfried Kracauer and the Types of Cinematic Sound Roger Manvell and John Huntley and "Functional" Music On the Difference between Realistic and Nonrealistic Music Chapter 4: Language, Semiotics, Deleuze The Linguistic Analogy Jean Mitry and Language and Rhythm Semiotics of Film/Semiotics of Music Christian Metz and Aural Objects Gilles Deleuze and the Movement-Image Zero-Point: Perception-Image Firstness: Affection-Image First Intermediary Stage: Impulse-image Secondness: Action-Image Large Action Form Small Action Form Second Intermediary Stage: Reflection-image Thirdness: Relation-Image Chapter 5: Neoformalism and Four Models of the Soundtrack Introduction: Semiotics and Formalism Neoformalism Kristin Thompson and the Analytical Approach David Bordwell and the Music(ologic)al Analogy Noel Carroll and Modifying Music Formal Models of Music and Film Kathryn Kalinak and Captain Blood A Working Model of Film Music General Considerations Explicit Relations of Music to Narrative Implicit Relations of Music to Narrative Combining Implicit and Explicit Relations of Music to Narrative Nicholas Cook and Multimedia Systems David Neumeyer and Vococentrism Annabel Cohen and the Congruence-Association Model Chapter 6: Narratology and the Soundtrack Introduction Narratology and Film Narratology and the Soundtrack Claudia Gorbman and Narrative Functions Sarah Kozloff and the Narrative Functions of Dialogue Michel Chion and the Audiovisual Scene Giorgio Biancorosso and the Cinematic Imagination Robynn Stilwell and the Fantastical Gap Jeff Smith and Film Narration Ben Winters and the Nondiegetic Fallacy Guido Heldt and Levels of Narration Music and Focalization Focalization in Casablanca Conclusion Chapter 7: Critical Theory and the Soundtrack Introduction Hermeneutics of Suspicion Ideology of Content (1): Topic Theory Ideology of Content (2): The Table of Knowledge and Communicative Efficiency Musical Topics: A Postcolonial Critique Ideology of System Ideology of Apparatus Gender, Sexuality, and the Soundtrack Soundtrack Theory and Feminist Theory Soundtrack Theory and Queer Theory Queering Asynchronous Sound Queerness and Spectacle Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) and the Economy of Sacrifice The Hours (2002) and Sacrificial Inversion Chapter 8: Psychoanalysis, Apparatus Theory, and Subjectivity Introduction The Appareil Jean-Louis Baudry and the Basic Cinematographic Apparatus Jean-Louis Comolli and Technique and Ideology Mary Ann Doane and the Ideology of Sound Editing Rick Altman and the Heterogeneity of Sound James Lastra and Representational Technology Music and the Appareil The Dispositif Jean-Louis Baudry and the Dispositif Jean-Louis Comolli and the Dispositif Christian Metz and Enunciation Dispositif and Suture Mary Ann Doane and the Fantasmatic Body Pascal Bonitzer and the Voiceover and Voice-off Suture and the Soundtrack Jeff Smith and the Critique of Psychoanalytical Model of Film Music Neo-Lacanian Theory The Gaze and the Voice Michel Chion and "There is No Soundtrack" Mimetic Synchronization and the Sexual Relation Michel Chion and Rendering Chapter 9: Theories of the Digital Soundtrack Introduction The Ontological Divide Animated Image, Stylized Sound: The Radical Effects of Digital Rendering Music, Sound Design, and Digital Audio Production Theories of Stereophonic Sound Affective Intensities, the Withering of the Leitmotif, and the Withdrawal of Identity Postclassical Cinema and the Fraying of Narrative Conclusion Bibliography Index

About the Author

Jim Buhler is a Professor of Music Theory and Director of the Center for American Music at the University of Texas and lead author of Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History (2009, 2014).


"This is a useful presentation of past and current theories about the soundtrack and the role sound plays in film." -- K. George, CHOICE "This study is astonishing for the amount of film theory it traverses and makes compelling. Its methodology is remarkable, especially in the way it moves both chronologically and topically through film theory while carefully keeping the discussion of film sound and film music completely grounded within the larger theoretical frameworks in which they appear. Buhler's mastery of the subject allows him to explain complex theories with clarity and precision, but also to make sophisticated and illuminating comparisons between them. This book makes film theory not only immanently approachable for film sound and music scholars alike, but also absolutely essential." "James Buhler provides an excellent overview of Anglo-American, Soviet, German, and French accounts of the film soundtrack. He cuts through the jargon, with clear and sophisticated explanations that also allow us to see each theory in a wider intellectual context. For those interested in screen music, this will surely become a must-read."

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