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Music videos 
By Charlotte Cottenham
Aims of a music video 
• A music video must overall sell the artist and 
the song. 
• It should showcase the star, which can include 
the star within the narrative. 
• Reflect the lyrics of the song. 
• Must underscore the music, this is cutting the 
film so that the music matches it.
Narrative 
• Connection maybe made between the title of the song and the images you see. 
• Narratives aren’t usually fully developed, and tens to be tragic and therefore 
possess a hint of inevitability. 
• Often the repetitive chorus of the song helps us focus upon the narrative 
trajectory. 
• Music videos are accompanied by visual imagery, the lyrics keeping us moving 
forward. 
• Lyrics can serve the narrative, but in a partial, incomplete manner as they don’t tell 
a full story most of the time. 
• Most music videos include stories that are enigmatic at the ending. 
• Its important to note when editing the narrative to figure out when to cut back to 
the star and having them singing to centralise them within the video. 
• Most videos choose to suggest a hint of a story and let the story remain ascendant. 
• Viewers may watch the music video many times to interpret the story where there 
isn’t one. 
• A filmmaker may create continuity through moments of narrative closure or 
revelation that are satisfying but do not take over the action.
Are you gonna go my way 
• The narratives devices are subliminal. 
• The video is ostensibly a performance tape. 
• This video had an absence of narrative and 
therefore used quick shots of the band. 
• Having no narrative means you have to 
constantly make shots of your band different 
to keep your audience interested.
The absence of narrative 
• The video must have some substance and 
have some relevant meaning to you, such as 
lyrics. 
• Giving meaning to a video can help an 
audience find their own meaning for your 
video that’s personal to them. 
• With a video without a narrative the audience 
can take notes of the shift of events and time 
but cannot fill in the context.
Jean-Jacques Nattiez 
• This theorist argues that if there is a narrative 
within music, it is only because the listener put it 
there. 
• Music has no way of communicating a past tense, 
and is instead always in present tense, a 
technique commonly used in literary narrative. 
• He also points out that music may unleash in the 
listener different behaviours such as a metal song 
could make you feel passionate.
Types of non-narrative 
• Often the video will focus on a single task e.g. 
ensuring the plant gets off the ground when the 
baby is born. 
• The performers may walk through a series of 
tableau. 
• The singer may also recount a series of memories 
from past relationships. 
• They may show a series of events. 
• Some are based on tableau such as My Chemical 
Romance – Ghost Of You who rein acted Saving 
Private Ryan which is a war film.
• Music videos encourage us early on to seek 
out a narrative, and by the videos close, they 
suggest something crucial has transpired. The 
questions the audience poses is where, when 
and how the event occurs.
Andrew Goodwin – Dancing in the 
distraction factory 
• Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics for 
example, a heavy metal video with usually has a 
performance with head banging. 
• There is a connection between the lyrics and the visuals. 
• You expect genre characteristics 
• The demands of the record label will include the need of 
close-ups of the artist. The artist may develop motifs 
which reoccur throughout their work. 
• There is also the usual voyeuristic treatment of the 
female body within music videos. 
• There is also often references to films within a music 
video.
• It is also worth considering whether the video 
is primarily performance based, narrative 
based or concept based and how elements of 
each are used in it.

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Music videos

  • 1. Music videos By Charlotte Cottenham
  • 2. Aims of a music video • A music video must overall sell the artist and the song. • It should showcase the star, which can include the star within the narrative. • Reflect the lyrics of the song. • Must underscore the music, this is cutting the film so that the music matches it.
  • 3. Narrative • Connection maybe made between the title of the song and the images you see. • Narratives aren’t usually fully developed, and tens to be tragic and therefore possess a hint of inevitability. • Often the repetitive chorus of the song helps us focus upon the narrative trajectory. • Music videos are accompanied by visual imagery, the lyrics keeping us moving forward. • Lyrics can serve the narrative, but in a partial, incomplete manner as they don’t tell a full story most of the time. • Most music videos include stories that are enigmatic at the ending. • Its important to note when editing the narrative to figure out when to cut back to the star and having them singing to centralise them within the video. • Most videos choose to suggest a hint of a story and let the story remain ascendant. • Viewers may watch the music video many times to interpret the story where there isn’t one. • A filmmaker may create continuity through moments of narrative closure or revelation that are satisfying but do not take over the action.
  • 4. Are you gonna go my way • The narratives devices are subliminal. • The video is ostensibly a performance tape. • This video had an absence of narrative and therefore used quick shots of the band. • Having no narrative means you have to constantly make shots of your band different to keep your audience interested.
  • 5. The absence of narrative • The video must have some substance and have some relevant meaning to you, such as lyrics. • Giving meaning to a video can help an audience find their own meaning for your video that’s personal to them. • With a video without a narrative the audience can take notes of the shift of events and time but cannot fill in the context.
  • 6. Jean-Jacques Nattiez • This theorist argues that if there is a narrative within music, it is only because the listener put it there. • Music has no way of communicating a past tense, and is instead always in present tense, a technique commonly used in literary narrative. • He also points out that music may unleash in the listener different behaviours such as a metal song could make you feel passionate.
  • 7. Types of non-narrative • Often the video will focus on a single task e.g. ensuring the plant gets off the ground when the baby is born. • The performers may walk through a series of tableau. • The singer may also recount a series of memories from past relationships. • They may show a series of events. • Some are based on tableau such as My Chemical Romance – Ghost Of You who rein acted Saving Private Ryan which is a war film.
  • 8. • Music videos encourage us early on to seek out a narrative, and by the videos close, they suggest something crucial has transpired. The questions the audience poses is where, when and how the event occurs.
  • 9. Andrew Goodwin – Dancing in the distraction factory • Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics for example, a heavy metal video with usually has a performance with head banging. • There is a connection between the lyrics and the visuals. • You expect genre characteristics • The demands of the record label will include the need of close-ups of the artist. The artist may develop motifs which reoccur throughout their work. • There is also the usual voyeuristic treatment of the female body within music videos. • There is also often references to films within a music video.
  • 10. • It is also worth considering whether the video is primarily performance based, narrative based or concept based and how elements of each are used in it.