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Film Music / Study 18

Does music enhance the understanding of a complex scene?

According to Huntley, "music allows the producer to suggest and express emotions and associations which would have been impossible to achieve by pictorial means alone" (Huntley, 1957). In order to study this question, scenes should be chosen that have been prejudged as complex.

Subjects should watch clips with and without music and respond to open-ended questions designed to elicit interpretations of the scene, such as, "What do you think motivates the character?" and "What would the character want to do if she were not in her current situation?"

Researchers may wish to extend this study by choosing clips from movies that were based on books (the subtext is written in the book). Could subjects unfamiliar with the text version describe the subtext more accurately when music is present than when it is not?

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