From the silent era to the present day, popular music has been a key component of the film experience. Yet there has been little serious writing on film soundtracks that feature popular music. Soundtrack Available fills this gap, as its contributors provide detailed analyses of individual films as well as historical overviews of genres, styles of music, and approaches to film scoring.
With a cross-cultural emphasis, the contributors focus on movies that use popular songs from a variety of genres, including country, bubble-gum pop, disco, classical, jazz, swing, French cabaret, and showtunes. The films discussed range from silents to musicals, from dramatic and avant-garde films to documentaries in India, France, England, Australia, and the United States. The essays examine both "nondiegetic" music in film-the score playing outside the story space, unheard by the characters, but no less a part of the scene from the perspective of the audience-and "diegetic" music-music incorporated into the shared reality of the story and the audience. They include analyses of music written and performed for films, as well as the now common practice of scoring a film with pre-existing songs. By exploring in detail how musical patterns and structures relate to filmic patterns of narration, character, editing, framing, and mise-en-scene, this volume demonstrates that pop music is a crucial element in the film experience. It also analyzes the life of the soundtrack apart from the film, tracing how popular music circulates and acquires new meanings when it becomes an official soundtrack.
Contributors. Rick Altman, Priscilla Barlow, Barbara Ching, Kelley Conway, Corey Creekmur, Krin Gabbard, Jonathan Gill, Andrew Killick, Arthur Knight, Adam Knee, Jill Leeper, Neepa Majumdar, Allison McCracken, Murray Pomerance, Paul Ramaeker, Jeff Smith, Pamela Robertson Wojcik, Nabeel Zuberi
"From Bollywood to Hollywood, Wim Wenders to Wong Kar-Wai, popular music permeates movies. Rigorous scholarship has finally begun to catch up with this phenomenon to make sense of its rich and varied cultural meanings. Wocjik's and Knight's first-rate collection is muscular, theoretically informed, historically textured, and full of exciting discoveries for all interested in the confluence of pop music, film, and identity."-Claudia Gorbman, University of Washington "Soundtrack Available represents a great leap forward in the analysis of film soundtracks. It is a smart, lively book that moves nicely between the detailed analysis of individual cases and broader, theoretical issues. The editors are to be commended for a collection which covers so many historical periods and national cinemas, and for staking out exciting new directions for scholarship. At the same time, this is a compelling, refreshingly jargon-free read for the non-specialist interested in film, music, or media."-Will Straw, McGill University