Event Title

Symphonies of Horror: Musical Experimentation in Howard Shore’s Work with David Cronenberg

Location

King Building 327

Document Type

Presentation

Start Date

4-28-2017 1:30 PM

End Date

4-28-2017 2:50 PM

Abstract

With a career spanning almost forty years, Canadian composer Howard Shore has become one of the most respected and sought after film composers working in the industry today. Much of his work, in particular his scores for the Lord of the Rings films, have received much academic attention; his longstanding working relationship with Canadian horror filmmaker David Cronenberg, however, has not yet benefited from such academic inquiry. Using the films The Brood, Videodrome, The Fly, Naked Lunch, as case studies, this thesis examines the way that Shore uses the arena of Cronenberg’s films as a laboratory for personal musical experimentation. Using as sources Cronenberg’s own writings, Howard Shore’s words, and what academic inquiry exists in this field, but more often utilizing my own analysis and observations of the music and films, I argue that Shore’s scores incorporate such musical experimentation to work in tandem with Cronenberg’s own experimental art. As such, Shore’s scores for Cronenberg’s films are a prime illustration of the practical value of experimental art music, showing that there is room for the avant-garde in music outside of the realm of academia and indeed that such music can have commercial potential.

Keywords:

film music, composition, film studies, David Cronenberg, Howard Shore, experimentation, avant-garde, cinema studies

Notes

Session I, Panel 2 - Applied | Music
Moderator: Ben Geyer, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music Theory

Link to full text thesis at OhioLINK ETD Center:
http://rave.ohiolink.edu/etdc/view?acc_num=oberlin1493750469131887

Major

Musical Studies

Advisor(s)

Ellen Sayles, Musical Studies; Office of the Dean of Studies

Project Mentor(s)

Stephen Hartke, Composition

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Apr 28th, 1:30 PM Apr 28th, 2:50 PM

Symphonies of Horror: Musical Experimentation in Howard Shore’s Work with David Cronenberg

King Building 327

With a career spanning almost forty years, Canadian composer Howard Shore has become one of the most respected and sought after film composers working in the industry today. Much of his work, in particular his scores for the Lord of the Rings films, have received much academic attention; his longstanding working relationship with Canadian horror filmmaker David Cronenberg, however, has not yet benefited from such academic inquiry. Using the films The Brood, Videodrome, The Fly, Naked Lunch, as case studies, this thesis examines the way that Shore uses the arena of Cronenberg’s films as a laboratory for personal musical experimentation. Using as sources Cronenberg’s own writings, Howard Shore’s words, and what academic inquiry exists in this field, but more often utilizing my own analysis and observations of the music and films, I argue that Shore’s scores incorporate such musical experimentation to work in tandem with Cronenberg’s own experimental art. As such, Shore’s scores for Cronenberg’s films are a prime illustration of the practical value of experimental art music, showing that there is room for the avant-garde in music outside of the realm of academia and indeed that such music can have commercial potential.