1) A state of equilibrium
2) A disruption of the equilibrium by some action
3) A recognition that there has been a disruption
4) An attempt to repair the disruption
5) A reinstatement of the equilibrium
Conventional narratives are structured in five
The type of narrative structure is commonly seen throughout many
films. It is easily recognisable and familiar.
Propp identified eight main character roles within a
narrative, which he proved by looking at many folk tales. These
roles are also used
in much more modern storylines such as Television dramas.
The eight main character roles are:
1) The hero (usually male) (restores the narrative equilibrium)
2) The villain (creates narrative disruption)
3) The donor (gives the hero something – helps in resolution of the
4) The helper (aids the hero in the task of restoring equilibrium)
5) The princess – victim (character most threatened by the villain)
6) The dispatcher (typically can be the princesses father) (sends hero
7) The false hero (appears to be good but is revealed at the
narratives end, to have been bad.
He identified we make sense of everything by using binary
opposites and observes that all narratives are arranged
around these binary opposites.
Examples of binary opposites:
- Good vs Evil
- Boy vs Girl
- Weak vs Strong
- White vs Black
3. Camera Movement and Framing
Vernallis theory centres around 4 key concepts that all
relate to the way the music video is constructed.
1. Music Videos demonstrate genre characteristics.
The majority of artists use this technique to show the category which they
fall into. Aspiration in hip hop, dance routines in boy/girl band videos and
live performances for heavy metal bands are all examples of this.
2. There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals.
Lyrics are represented with images, whether they are illustrative or
contradicting, throughout music videos. There is a definite correlation of the
lyrics within the song and the visuals displayed. These can be supported by
the lyrics with a demonstration of the situation or narrative, this can
display the inner message with a visual interpretation, or completely
contradict the lyrics, to demonstrate an alternative, different or new artist.
3. There is a relationship between music and visuals.
It depends whether it is illustrative or contradicting a link between the
music in the song and the video, specifically relating to tempo and
transitions. For example, in more up-beat pop videos, the editing will be
quick and fast, cut shots with a general tempo matching the speed of the
song. However a more sombre video will feature more slow, fading cuts, to
emphasise the slow beat expressed in the song. Particular high and low
points throughout these songs can be emphasised by specific changes in the
style of the video.
GOODWIN – (CONTINUED)
4. The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close ups of
the artist, and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work.
This is used to primarily sell the material of the artist, and also to introduce
a style to which fans can relate and imitate. An example of this is new up and
coming modern pop singer, setting an example to people creating fans based on
their style, genre of music and costumes that they wear, this helps to define
them more as a artist from other singers in the same profession. This has a
massive impact on their fans, and the music industry as a whole, and defines them
just as much as their music.
5. There is frequently reference to notion of looking (screens within
screens, telescopes, mirrors, etc) and particularly expressive focus on the
This includes music videos which focus on mise-en-scene which features several
depictions of people looking into mirrors, telescopes, screens on a TV or board
etc. As well as this, many music videos contain lots of depictions of the female
body in a sexual manner. This is a constant feature throughout music
videos, whether it be the singer herself, for example, Miley Cyrus or
Rihanna, who present themselves in a sexual way to the audience in many of their
music videos. Another example could be female dancers in the background of a male
singer or even groups. The majority of these videos are associated with rap or
R&B genre videos with occasional pop videos.
6. There are often inter-textual references (to films, tv
programmes, other music videos etc).
In many music videos, the artist uses several references to other memorable
images throughout pop culture. These images are then recognised by the
viewer, and they understand the band is attempting to replicate this, for
either comic effect, or the attempt to create a relationship between the
band, and the original image. This could also be a way to relate to a wider
audience and explore a different generation or area of fans by being
influenced by other artists.
GOODWIN – (CONTINUED)