In Hollywood film and narrative television, we often see filmmakers bestow narratives of personal tragedy, trauma and loss upon their protagonists. Whether or not this is seen as a time-tested and efficient literary device or as a hackneyed and superficial representation of trauma, it is undeniably one of the most recurrent tropes of characterization in narrative film. Exploring the traumatic past of a troubled protagonist is routinely used as an attempt to enhance audiences’ understanding of a character, affording us insights into their motivations, flaws and desires. Such narratives are equally used to account for the actions of unpardonable antagonists and antiheroes as Jeffrey Bullins reminds us1 and, quite often, this “dark and troubled past” idiom simply serves filmmakers as a convenient means of narrative exposition. Pelin Başci describes this latter quality and the intersecting narrative frames it can afford a film, whereby diary entries, therapy sessions and other...
“I am no longer afraid”: A Case Study on the Musical Communication of Trauma in Narrative Film and Television
James Denis Mc Glynn is a film music scholar and assistant lecturer at the Department of Music, University College Cork. His research explores the rearrangement of pre-existing music in film and television, which he frames as an important and recurring trend in contemporary screen scoring. He serves on the editorial board for Sonic Scope: New Approaches to Audiovisual Media (Goldsmiths / MIT Press) and has reviewed for [in]Transition: Journal of Videographic Film & Moving Image Studies (JCMS) and The Musicology Review (UCD).McGlynn is an alumnus of the Quercus Talented Students Programme, having been awarded a coveted Quercus Creative & Performing Arts Scholarship in 2015. His receipt of a Ph.D. Excellence Scholarship in 2017 enabled him to pursue his doctoral research at the University College Cork. Soon after, he was invited to work as an instrumental tutor at the Tianmu Institute (Suzhou, China) and in 2018 he completed a research residency at Centre Culturel Irlandais in Paris. James served as conductor, arranger and creative director of the UCC Orchestra for several years. He is also a member of the Irish Gamelan Orchestra, with which he has performed extensively throughout Ireland and in Indonesia. In 2019, the group performed the score for Gare St. Lazare’s staging of Samuel Beckett’s How It Is (Part 2), starring Conor Lovett and Stephen Dillane (Game of Thrones, The Crown). The production will feature in the 2021 Dublin Theatre Festival, before touring to London in 2022.
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James Denis Mc Glynn; “I am no longer afraid”: A Case Study on the Musical Communication of Trauma in Narrative Film and Television. Journal of Popular Music Studies 1 December 2021; 33 (4): 43–49. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jpms.2021.33.4.43
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