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May 1991


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Thu, 16 May 91 15:43:50 EDT
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A subscriber suggests discussion around film scoring.  This is one of my areas,
as it appears to be with David Roth (the author of the forwarded letter, which
I got some time ago, and have since communicated with him).
My main area is Music; but as I teenager I was split between musical and
cinematic studies (obbviously choosing the former).  As I get older and deeper
into music, I can't help making comparisons between the two disciplines.
Music scholarship is literally an ancient discipline -- stretching back well
before the Greeks.  Because of that solid foundation, I think the field is less
susceptible to current trends.  It often seems to me that film studies almost
"depend" on current trends of literary criticism.  (Not to say such trends don't
effect music -- but they don't have the same impact as they do in a field that
is less than a century old, and has yet to establish a firm, solid scholarly
base.)  I invite refutations to that observation.
It often puzzles me that certain established fields of music study do not seem
to be applied to film studies.  Example:  sketch studies.  For a little over
100 years, a growing branch of musicology has been the study of composers'
sketches.  Is there something like this in film?  Sure, an earlier version of
a script gets published, or a reconstruction based on stills, or deleted
footage -- but what about the scholarly literature (if any) generated by such
I was once discussing Bernard Herrmann's score to NORTH BY NORTHWEST with a
person involved in film studies.  I told him that based on the score, the final
scene (Thornhill pulls up Even and final shot) there must have been something
cut out.  But this person told me that such questions usually are not of much
interest to film scholars.  Too bad -- there's much to be learned!
Responses, anyone?
Bob Kosovsky
New York Public Library--Music Division
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