1st Edition

Reeled In: Pre-existing Music in Narrative Film

By Jonathan Godsall Copyright 2019
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How and why is pre-existing music used in films? What effects can its use have on films and their audiences? And what lasting impact can appropriation have on the music? Reeled In is a comprehensive exploration of these questions, considering the cinematic quotation of Beethoven symphonies, Beatles songs, and Herrmann scores alike in films ranging from the early sound era to the present day, and in every role from ‘main title theme’ to ‘music playing in bar’. Incorporating a discussion of such factors as copyright and commerce alongside examination of texts and their effects, this broad study is a significant contribution to the scholarship on music in screen media, demonstrating that pre-existing music possesses unique attributes that can affect both how filmmakers construct their works and how audiences receive them, to an extent regardless of the music’s style, genre, and so on. This book also situates the reception of music by film, and by audiences experiencing that music through film, as significant processes within present-day culture, while more generally providing an illuminating case study of the kinds of borrowings, adaptations, and reinventions that characterize much of today’s art and entertainment.

    1. Production contexts and considerations 2. Intention and interpretation 3. Functions of musical reference 4. Post-existing music


    Jonathan Godsall is Teaching Fellow in Music at Royal Holloway, University of London. He has also taught music at the University of Cambridge, the University of Bristol, Oxford Brookes University, Keele University, Plymouth University, and City, University of London. He was awarded his PhD from the University of Bristol in 2014, and has published on screen-music topics in journals and edited books, as well as presenting internationally. He is also a drummer and percussionist.