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date: 17 August 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Michael Chanan investigates the complex implications of what is referred to as musical iconography, in which music works as a subtle and polysemic signifier of nonmusical associations and connotations, thereby functioning as a congealed but ambiguous cultural symbol. Through a brief historic sketch covering the period of the silent movie to the present, Chanan points out how music brings codes and connotations from outside and beyond the screen into film. He discusses how music augments narrative ambiguity but can also encompass different superimposed temporalities, comprising historical events, private biographies, and collective memory.

Keywords: film music, semiotics, film history, priming, psychology, collective memory

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