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Hearing place: Film music, geography and ethnicity

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Music is an important device that filmmakers use to create a sense of place. Different countries have different music cultures and film soundtracks move swiftly to accommodate and incorporate an approximation of them. Specific instruments can be used to provide local colour, standard instruments can be used in imitation of them, specific tunes associated with specific places can be invoked or shadowed as the musicological fundamentals of specific national musics are harnessed to produce appropriate original music. Distinctive rhythms and dance forms can be incorporated, and either genuine musicians or recordings of musicians from a particular country or culture can be used to give an immediate sense of people and place.

Keywords: Jean-Jacques Annaud; John Williams; Kundun; Martin Scorsese; Philip Glass; Scottish cinema; Seven Years In Tibet; Tibet; ethnicity; film music; place; race

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: University of Stirling, Scotland.

Publication date: November 5, 2007

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  • The International Journal of Media and Cultural Politics is committed to analyzing the politics of communication(s) and cultural processes. It addresses cultural politics in their local, international and global dimensions, recognizing equally the importance of issues defined by their specific cultural geography and those that traverse cultures and nations.
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