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Bridging the Gap: Reconsidering the Border between Diegetic and Nondiegetic Music
Music and the Moving Image
Vol. 2, No. 1 (Spring 2009), pp. 1-25
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/musimoviimag.2.1.0001
Page Count: 25
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ABSTRACT This article offers an alternative model for conceptualizing the boundary between diegetic and nondiegetic music in film. Most attempts to explain this phenomenon falter because they take this distinction to be solely an effect of a film’s narration and focus largely on the spectator’s apprehension of music’s diegetic or nondiegetic status. Instead, concepts like Robynn Stillwell’s “fantastical gap” might be viewed more productively through a lens that combines three interrelated, but nonetheless theoretically separable, issues: the music’s relation to narrative space, the film narration’s self-consciousness and communicativeness, and the music’s aural fidelity. To illustrate the utility of a model that considers all three of these as factors, I employ several examples where the apparent ambiguity of music’s relation to narrative space can be explained by the manipulation of aural fidelity, the use of spatially displaced sound, and the momentary suppression of information characteristic of film narration’s communicativeness.
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