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Film Music / Study 17

Can music really cover-up a weak scene?

Copland says that "the Hollywood producer secretly hopes that a good score will save a second-rate picture" (Kresh, 1974). In order to study this question, film scenes should be chosen that have been prejudged to be weak, moderate, or strong in emotional elicitation (the scenes will have been shown without music).

Experimenters should divide the subjects into six groups, exposing each group to one version of one scene.

The first three groups should view each type of scene without music while groups four through six watch each type of scene with music. Subjects should rate the scene on its ability to evoke emotional response as well as on its quality.

Close attention should be paid to whether the music increases the emotionality of a weak scene more than stronger scenes, whether the music adds less additional emotionality to the strong scene than the other scenes, whether the music detracts from the strong scene, and whether the overall ratings for emotionality and quality for the weak scene with music are equal to or higher than the moderate and strong scenes with music .

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