By Stephen C. Meyer
Lavish musical soundtracks contributed a distinct grandeur to the recent widescreen, stereophonic sound motion picture event of postwar biblical epics resembling Samson and Delilah, Ben-Hur, and Quo Vadis. In Epic Sound, Stephen C. Meyer exhibits how song was once applied for numerous results, occasionally serving as a car for narrative plot and now and then complicating biblical and cinematic interpretation. during this means, the soundscapes of those movies mirrored the ideological and aesthetic tensions in the style, and extra as a rule, inside postwar American society. by way of studying key biblical motion pictures, Meyer adeptly engages musicology with movie experiences to discover cinematic interpretations of the Bible throughout the Forties throughout the 1960s.
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Additional resources for Epic Sound: Music in Postwar Hollywood Biblical Films
3. Miriam motive. Miriam as a kind of stereotypical figure. 3). 13 In the context of this film, these gestures clearly mark Miriam’s Jewish ethnicity. As I mentioned above, the Miriam motive is very closely related to the extension of Samson’s theme, a motive that appears at many points in the film in which the plot foregrounds Jewish history or identity. This minor-mode theme accompanies certain shots in the first scene of the film, for instance, in which an old man is narrating the story of Exodus to a group of children.
21 Young’s underscoring, in short, conforms entirely to traditional patterns. Together with the conventional cinematographic images, and the unambiguous certainty of the voiceover script, it provides a clear moral frame for the filmic diegesis. The dichotomous nature of the imaginary world is expressed by binary oppositions: light versus dark, glimmering clouds or clattering armor; shimmering string melodies versus ominous minor-mode marches. Framed by these totalizing binary oppositions, the filmic diegesis becomes something akin to a moral fable.
44 w J 3 3 ˙ 3 bœ œœ œ œ bœ œ œ œ 3 3 ˙ 42 ˙ œ œ œ œ œ œ b œ œ œ œ œ . 2. Delilah motive. at various points in the film in which the plot references the Jewish people or the Jewish land. This extension, with its distinctive augmented second melodic interval, is closely related to the Miriam motive that I discuss below. Here in the opening credits, this motive leads directly into a brief statement of the Philistine march music that will later be associated with the forces of tyranny. Young uses this march idea to bring the music to a full cadence.