Degree Year

2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts

Department

Musicology

Advisor(s)

Charles Edward McGuire

Committee Member(s)

Arnie Cox, Chair
William Patrick Day
Rebecca Fülöp

Keywords

Musicology, Music history, Cinema studies, Classical music, Frederic Chopin

Abstract

The purpose of this research project is to investigate the relationship between biographical films and the context in which they were produced through a focus on media representation of Frederic Chopin. Chopin’s life lends itself well to the “tortured romantic artist” trope, due to his estrangement from his home country, his romantic troubles with George Sand, and the illness that led to his untimely death. His dramatic story has yielded several fictionalized interpretations of his life. This project explores several of these adaptations, discussing the portrayal of Chopin’s character as well as his music, and how the cultural context of a film’s place and time of production affects this.

I will analyze several films, including: A Song to Remember (American, 1945), Mlodosc Chopina (Polish, 1952), La Note Bleue (French, 1991), Impromptu (British, 1991), and Pragnienie Milosci (Polish, 2002). I will also explore a video game, Eternal Sonata (Japanese, 2008). Each of these media come from a different sociopolitical context, and the representation of the Chopin’s character changes accordingly. The directors exaggerate specific aspects of Chopin’s story, and create a fictional persona tailored to their audiences, turning Chopin into a relatable figure across time and culture.

Included in

Musicology Commons

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