Toward a Naturalized Aesthetics of Film Music

An Interdisciplinary Exploration of Intramusical and Extramusical Meaning

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  • 1 Pitzer College timothy_justus@pitzer.edu
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Abstract

In this article, I first address the question of how musical forms come to represent meaning—that is, the semantics of music—and illustrate an important conceptual distinction articulated by Leonard Meyer in Emotion and Meaning in Music between absolute or intramusical meaning and referential or extramusical meaning through a critical analysis of two recent films. Second, building examples of scholarship around a single piece of music frequently used in film—Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings—I follow the example set by Murray Smith in Film, Art, and the Third Culture and discuss the complementary approaches of the humanities, the behavioral sciences, and the natural sciences to understanding music and its use in film.

Contributor Notes

Timothy Justus is Associate Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science at Pitzer College and Associate Editor of the interdisciplinary journals Auditory Perception & Cognition and Musicae Scientiae. Justus has published on diverse topics within cognitive neuroscience, linguistics, musicology, and the psychology of the arts. E-mail: timothy_justus@pitzer.edu

Projections

The Journal for Movies and Mind

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