The hero's journey: an exploration of musical leitmotif in Hollywood cinema

Ardill, Catherine (2008) The hero's journey: an exploration of musical leitmotif in Hollywood cinema. BA dissertation, University of Portsmouth.

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    The aim of this dissertation is to explore the use of leitmotif, looking specifically at its place within Hollywood cinema. This musical device is, at its most basic level, a signal that represents a particular character or theme. However, it has more complex uses, from emphasising changes within the narrative, to providing continuity and coherence within films that are complicated or vast. To do this, I first look at the history of the leitmotif, tracing its origins in music from the Romantic period, to the first examples of music in the silent era of film and the development of the film score as we understand it today. I also examine particular examples of leitmotif, using the semiotic approach of Tagg, before applying these theories to a case study of two film sagas and their effective use of leitmotif. This case study is greatly influenced by the work of Joseph Campbell, in particular his seminal work "The Hero with a Thousand Faces" (1993). Through this I argue that leitmotif can be considered successful as a device because of the effect it has upon audiences.

    Item Type: Dissertation
    Departments/Research Groups: Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries > School of Media and Performing Arts
    Depositing User: Jane Polwin
    Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2011 12:48
    Last Modified: 28 Jan 2015 11:14

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