Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Music Criticism at the Movies

Stanley Fish has a fun online column up about literary criticism in movies. As he points out, there are lots of movies based on literary sources, or about literary figures, or even a few about literary critics, but few examples of literary criticism actually being performed by the movie. (His column focuses on the new movie Howl which does just that.)

So that gets me thinking: are there examples of movies that perform musicology, or at least music criticism? Let me brainstorm:
  • Amadeus. I'd say this goes beyond just depiction of a musical figure, most obviously in the dictation of the Requiem at the end that shows how a piece of classical music is constructed. Also, however, the many plot points based around issues such comic versus serious opera, the language of the libretto, nationalism, etc.
  • High Fidelity. Tons of pop music criticism being spoken in that movie, and so integrally to the plot that I think it qualifies!
  • What's Up, Doc? I have never actually seen this Barbra Streisand movie, but Kay Shelemay reviewed it a few years back and it seems like it might fit.
  • Fantasia. Not always the sort of musicology we approve of, but certainly lots going on!

Any other good examples of cinematic musicology or music criticism?

1 comment:

6.54 said...

Don't forget No Country for Old Men!