1st Edition

Music in Action Film
Sounds Like Action!

ISBN 9780815384502
Published November 17, 2020 by Routledge
332 Pages 108 B/W Illustrations

USD $49.95

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Book Description

Music in Action Film is the first volume to address the central role of music and sound in action film—arguably the most dominant form of commercial cinema today.

Bringing together 15 essays by established and emerging scholars, the book encompasses both Hollywood blockbusters and international films, from classic works such as The Seven Samurai to contemporary superhero franchises. The contributors consider action both as genre and as a mode of cinematic expression, in chapters on evolving musical conventions; politics, representation, and identity; musical affect and agency; the functional role of music and sound design in action film; and production technologies.

Breaking new critical ground yet highly accessible, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of music and film studies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Series Foreword

Neil Lerner

List of Contributors

Preface: Sounds Like Action!

James Buhler and Mark Durrand

Part I: Action Scored: Politics, Representation, and Identity

Favela Chic in Action

Soundtracking Urban Violence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

K.E. Goldschmitt

"You’re Not Gonna Get Mushy on Me, Are You?"

Music and the New Man in 1990s Hollywood Action Film

Rebecca Fülöp

"I Am No Lady When I Fight!"

Gender Politics in the Postwar Swashbuckler Score

Grace Edgar

Reviving the Swordplay Action Film

Nature, Technology, and the Soundtrack for Seven Samurai

Brooke McCorkle Okazaki

Conan the Neoliberal?

The Sounds of Hypermasculine Entrepreneurship

in Early Reaganite Film

James Deaville

Part II: Action Scores: Evolving Musical Conventions

Underscoring Chased Heroes and Robbing Villains

Music of Immediacy in New Hollywood Action Thrillers

of the late 1960s and 1970s

Michael Baumgartner

John Williams’s Action Music in the Twenty-First Century

Frank Lehman

"There and Back Again"

Music and Generic Transformation in Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Films

Stephen C. Meyer

Star Trek as Action Film

Reimagining The Original Series’ Soundscape

Paul Sommerfeld

A Tale of Two Cinemas:

Zashchitniki (Guardians, 2017) and

Music for the New Russian Superhero Film

Joan Titus

Part III: Scoring Action: The Kinesthetic Experience and Production

"Those Who Dance"

Popular Music, Audiovisual Editing, and Meaning across

the Guardians of the Galaxy Franchise

Catrin Watts

Toward a Musical Understanding of Cinematic Action:

Two Experiments with Embodiment and Musical Vitality

in Film Experience

Mark Durrand

Sound-Induced Visual Illusion in Film

Sarah Louden

"Humming the Foley, Singing the Sound"

Designing Sound with a Musical Perspective

Vanessa Theme Ament

Music, Digital Audio, Labor:

Notes on Audio and Music Production

for the Contemporary Action Film

James Buhler


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James Buhler is Professor of Music Theory at the University of Texas, Austin.

Mark Durrand is Senior Lecturer in Musicology at the University of Akron.