Towards a Theory of Musicodramatic Practice in Film

Questions of Method


  • David Revill University of Maryland, Baltimore County



Methodology, phenomenology, metaquestions, analysis, language, conceptual lag


Preliminary considerations are set out for a reassessment of the lineage of music for motion pictures, its cultural or social significance, and adequate methods for its analysis. These considerations mostly take the form of metaquestions of a methodological nature. Some of the strands in the development of the “language” of film, and film music specifically, are identified. Awareness of the shortcomings of a given monolithic explanation may lead not to a more refined explanation but to substituting a different single cause. Importantly, the field of study encompasses different generations of film music and film composer, each with differing priorities and limitations. Certain trends and key individuals create a weighting or gravitational pull in favor of certain expectations and conventions. The potential relevance of phenomenological method is considered. The impact of conceptual lag on methodology is examined. The central question becomes: What is specific to music in film compared to other types of music?


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How to Cite

Revill, D. (2013). Towards a Theory of Musicodramatic Practice in Film: Questions of Method. Journal of Film Music, 5(1-2), 199–205.