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date: 01 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter examines medievalism, music, and sound effects in Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957) and The Virgin Spring (1960). As with his later work, Bergman uses music and sound in The Virgin Spring and The Seventh Seal in powerfully unsettling ways. He and Swedish composer Erik Nordgren (1913–1992) aimed for stylized medieval tunes alongside more modern and even jarringly anachronistic scoring. Bergman’s idiosyncratic approach to medievalism fuses medieval sources with northern angst, Strindberg, and Kurosawa in a medieval vision that is quintessentially Bergman’s own. Through deathly silence, music, and sound effects, the soundscapes of these films evoke a “Dark Age” struggle of faith and fear with profound resonance for a modern audience.

Keywords: The Seventh Seal, The Virgin Spring, flagellants, atemporality, Dark Ages, Ingmar Bergman, Erik Nordgren

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