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Unit 7:  Dramatic Functions




Physical Functions


Music can assume many functions within a movie, a sequence, a scene or even a moment.  On the physical aspect, music can set up the location of the story (e.g., playing folkloric music in an exotic location). Music can also serve to establish a time period, a practice used frequently in period pieces. In moments where the action or suspense ratchets up, music can heighten those moments to great dramatic effect.


Psychological Functions


Music can function as a storytelling device when it comes to characterization by revealing thoughts and feelings of a given character. Another key function of music is establishing the mood or tone of the film, which also has a psychological effect on the audience itself. Some directors and composers take this conceit a step forward and effectively deceive the audience through music, setting up expectations about something and suddenly turning the tables through what is called a reversal.


Technical Functions

Transitions from one scene to another, especially if the second scene is set at an entirely different location, can be jarring to the viewer, but music helps soften this transition by establishing auditory links from one scene to the next, thus creating continuity. Themes and textures can also be reused at significant moments or in connection to certain characters to create a sense of overall cohesiveness to the movie as well as a sense of dramatic build.


These general functions are at play throughout the entire dramatic Arc of a scene or story line.  To gain a better perspective on the Dramatic Arc of a story, we can use Gustav Freytag's Pyramid to gain a deeper understanding:




Look at all the assignments.  Know that you have about 5 classes to complete the work.  Post a plan on your ePortfolio.  Know that the last project will take a few days.


Make a plan... don't skip this step.

Follow each link to complete each assignment.


Assignment 1:  The Dramatic Arc


Assignment 2: Analysis Project


Assignment 3: The Composer's Time Frame   Read and take notes.







Apply your learning:


1. Analyze this video using the Freytag Pyramid.  Determine each of the seven points of action.


Put notes in your portfolio.


2. Establish a plan for scoring this video.  This form may help.

























Film Scoring Tool 


Create a screen shot of the specific locations where action needs to be supported musically. Those can be loaded into the large boxes on the scoring template.  You may want to make some notes on the template for how your are going to approach your score.


3. Download the video and load it into Logic.  Right Click Here 


4.  You may want to add some Foley work to compliment your music and add more realism.  ...but what is Foley?


5. Score with music and Post result to your youtube account and then embed in portfolio.


Once you have completed all assignments, go to OnCampus and submit your work by posting the URL of Unit 7.   Thanks!

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