Music video narrative


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Apply narrative theory to your music video

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Music video narrative

  1. 1. Narrative in Music Videos<br />KKS 2010<br />
  2. 2. Narrative Theory:Applying the concept<br />Look carefully at your video at how the story is structured and how the audience is positioned (i.e. who are we led to identify with?)<br />Consider the following:<br />How the narrative is organised and structured.<br />How the conflict is established and how it is resolved<br />The construction of the characters in the text and how we are led to relate to them<br />How heroes and villains are created within the text<br />The importance of sound, music, iconography, mise-en-scene, editing and other technical features in telling the story.<br />How the themes and ideas are put forward in the story.<br />
  3. 3. Your chosen track :<br />Summarise the lyrics in your music video.<br />How far did you choose to follow the lyrics in your storyboarding?<br />Are there key lines that you are choosing to give visual dominance to?<br />Or:<br />Are you choosing to concentrate on the music with the visuals/ use abstract visuals?<br />
  4. 4. How much narrative?<br />“videos tend to only suggest storylines and focus on fragments of the lyrics” (Steve Archer). <br />
  5. 5. The Main Artist<br />What role does the artist play in your music video – narrator, protagonistorboth? <br /> Is the video a vehicle for the artist’s star<br /> persona? (Refer back to Andrew Goodwin) <br />Did you chose a subjective or objective character identity in your music video and why? <br />(Subjective character identity – a range of characters ‘stories’ or points of view are shown. <br />Objective character identity – one characters story or point of view is shown)<br />
  6. 6. Importance of the mise-en-scene in your narrative<br />Does your mise-en-scene:<br />Add authenticity to your singer/ band?<br />Is it key to establishing setting and relationships?<br />Is it part of the voyeuristic context e.g. By suggesting a setting associated with sexual allure like a sleazy nightclub or boudoir?<br />Is it to emphasise an aspirational lifestyle for the audience (John Stewart)? <br />
  7. 7. Applying music video theory<br />
  8. 8. Music videos can be characterized by 3 broad typologies, Firth 1988: <br />Performance (to convey a sense of the in-concert experience) "Performance oriented visuals cue viewers that the recording of the music is the most significant element. (BUT see John Berger)<br />Narrative (linear, love stories most popular – “Action in the story is dominated by males who do things and females who passively react or wait for something to happen” (Schwichtenberg, 1992)).<br />Conceptual (metaphors to create a mood, offer multiple meanings)<br />These types describe the form and content selected by the director or artist to attract viewers and to convey a direct or indirect message. <br />They can act as extended advertisements, as popular art forms or as self-referential filmic texts (e.gMadonna videos)<br />
  9. 9. Narrative and Performance: Steve Archer (2004)<br /> “Often, music videos will cut between a narrative and a performance of the song by the band. Additionally, a carefully choreographed dance might be part of the artist’s performance or an extra aspect of the video designed to aid visualisation and the ‘repeatability’ factor. Sometimes, the artist (especially the singer) will be part of the story , acting as narrator and participant at the same time. But it is the lip synch close-up and the miming of playing instrument s that remains at the heart of music videos, as if to assure us that the band really can kick it.”<br />
  10. 10. Applying Andrew Goodwin<br />What is the is a relationship between lyrics and visuals and music?<br />Is your narrative:<br />Illustrative? (images provide a literal representation)<br />Amplifying? (repetition of key meanings and effects to manipulate the audience)<br />Contradicting? (images contrast with the music)<br />Disjuncture?: (When the meaning of the song is completely ignored)<br />
  11. 11. A given music video may actually have elements of more than one category. <br />Goodwin (1992), in describing Madonna's videos, suggests that the essential narrative component of a music video is found in its ability to frame the star, "star-in-text," as all Madonna's videos seem to do. <br />
  12. 12. Narrative in dance videos?John Berger: ‘Ways of Seeing’ <br />“Dance tracks may just have pulsating abstract visuals which follow the beat with no visual reference to human agency. However, it is more likely that the music video will feature members of the band either performing or acting, placing a visual dominance on the band involved in the telling of a story in some way. <br />We are preconditioned to make narrative in preference to shapeless, abstract, eventless images.” <br />
  13. 13. A reminder from AS: narrative theory<br />
  14. 14. Vladimir Propp<br />After analysing folk tales, Propp developed a theory that within each narrative there are a set of stock characters, which reappear in every storyline. <br />These roles are:<br />Hero – Person on the quest<br />Princess – Prize for the hero<br />Helper – Helps the hero on his quest<br />False hero – Somebody who believes they are the hero<br />Dispatcher – Sends the hero on their quest<br />Father – Rewards the hero<br />Villain – Attempts to stop the hero on his quest<br />Donor – Provides objects to help the hero on his quest<br />
  15. 15. Levi-Strauss <br />Levi-Strauss’ theory dictated that in every media text there are binary oppositions, or a conflict between two opposites. The audience subsequently are aware of who they should side with, and this technique can also help create a political theme within a text. For example:<br />Good & Bad<br />Rich & Poor<br />Eastern & Western World<br />Love & Hate<br />
  16. 16. Roland Barthes<br />Barthes was a French semiologist who identified 5 different codes by which a narrative engages the attention of the audience.<br />In order of importance these are:<br />The enigma code- the audience is intrigued by the need to solve a problem<br />The action code – the audience is excited by the need to resolve a problem<br />The semantic code – the audience is directed towards an additional meaning by way of connotation<br />The symbolic code – the audience assumes that a character dressed in black is evil or menacing and forms expectations of his/ her behaviour on this basis<br />The cultural code – the audience derives meaning in a text from shared cultural knowledge about the way the world works.<br />
  17. 17. Todorov<br />Todorov’s theory states that in a media text there are five stages. <br />ORIGINAL EQUILIBRIUM (normality) <br /> <br />DISRUPTION <br /> <br />RECOGNITION (of disruption)<br /> <br />ATTEMPT TO RESTORE original equilibrium<br /> <br />NEW EQUILIBRIUM<br />