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Music in Titanic Analysis

1551 words (6 pages) Essay in Film Studies

05/06/17 Film Studies Reference this

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The movie “Titanic” is deemed as a romantic story fused by the love and the tragedy. The music employed in the film is to provide two rendering functions, one is to describe the love between Jack and Rose, and the other one is for the storyline. To achieve the goals above, two major themes of music created by the musician, one is for the love centered by “My Heart Will Go On”, and the other is for the sinking Titanic. Even though the movie “Titanic” is classified by drama to describe a romantic story on the disaster journey of Titanic, however, it is also a great musical film directed by James Cameron released in 1997.

There is no doubt that the movie “Titanic” is one of the first-class films with the concord between music and pictures. The soundtrack in this film is recognized as one of the best classic movie soundtrack publicly in the 20th century. Its beautiful melodies, strong lyrical effect, inseparable connection with the picture, and powerful plot driven make it turn into the ultimate soundtrack in movie history, so that it is quite difficult to be transcended. Additionally, the key of the success of the soundtrack in this movie is that composer integrates the Scottish folk music into the pictures and the storyline in a perfect way. The beautiful and desolate rhythm played by Scottish bagpipes running throughout the film puts Scottish folk element into emotional tone of the tragedy organically, by which viewer gets a fresh feeling.

In fact, music in the films has a singular influence on the perception and understanding of image, which is called aesthetic effect. Based on a study, it demonstrates that film music has effects on character amiability and the inevitability of perceiving characters’ emotions. (Berthold et al., 2011) In the case of film ‘Titanic”, the theme song “My Heart Will Go On” becomes the other main line throughout the film. As a consequence, many soundtracks are based on this song that portrays character’s mental activity and emotion, and renders the mood, by which viewers are connected with the story closely. The audiences are possibly able to know what characters thought by corresponding melodies as the same time. The composer tries to use the multi-stage musical form, which is commonly used in films, to create the soundtrack for the movie “Titanic”. At the beginning of the movie, with tragic melody, a clear female voice accompanied by the plaintive sound of the Scottish bagpipes evokes memories of the past immediately, and also indicates that the romantic desolate love will start on this ship.

As mentioned above, there are two parts of the movie “Titanic”, the love and the disaster. The theme of love is presented at the first meet between Jack and Rose who is ready to jump into the sea, through which viewers would feel that the love begins to germinate. During the development of romance between two characters, the composer continually presents the tragic melody through the rendering of the soundtrack. With the sinking of Titanic, people keep running for surviving. At this time, the composer introduce the quickly short melody played by stringed instruments, the sharp tone played by trumpet echoed with the melody played by the French horn, the gloomy melody played by the trombone and the sound played by the percussion which are accompanied by female voice and melody played by Scottish bagpipes as a whole for disaster mood rendering. (Content Server, Conclusion: Some, of course, are ballads appropriate for any event in which families were separated and lost loved ones. ) Please add something here.

In addition, the perspective of the film is through that elderly Rose recalls shipwreck disaster occurred 85 years ago. To support that, the musical theme of the disaster mixed with the theme of love in the shadow brings strongly feeling of tragedy and nostalgia. Some times, those two themes are separated, and some times are united. There are also the scenes of the musicians who play the music during the event occurring. If those scenes are included, there are 75 musical scenes in the movie Titanic. At the beginning of the film, a female voice accompanied by the sound of the Scottish bagpipes indicates that the final of the story should be a tragedy. In the first half of the movie, the music presents magnificent sail song to support a bustling scene around Port Southampton, through which the final tragedy is contrasted.

Generally, the soundtrack of a film should be connected to the story of the film closely. (Content, 1st par: We wanted to know) Please add something here.

Firstly, the soundtrack can render the mood of the story, for instance, at the beginning of the movie, “life so changed” presents deep and melodious that gives a heavy feeling and makes viewers to get the sense of final tragedy. Furthermore, it can render the emotion of the characters, by which the inside emotion could be pulled out through the play of soundtrack. It is commonly believed that the best scene in the film is the cheerful melody with full dynamic jump played by piano when Jack does the painting for Rose. The melody shows Rose’s happiness and endless heartbeat during facing her lover, by which it is better way than using any gorgeous language to describe the emotion of characters. Besides, it is able to drive the story efficiently. To illustrate, the melody goes up and boosts up gradually when the carriage brings Rose into the scenes. Then, Rose waves gloved hand, gets off the carriage, raises hat and exposes cheeks, and the soundtrack reaches a climax at the same time. At this moment, the music plays a fantastic role for the story driven. Lastly, it can also be played as a key to reveal the theme of the story. For example, at the end of the film, “My Heart Will Go On” presents a review of the whole story to viewers through the beautiful and desolate song performed by Celine Dion in her melodious voice.

“My Heart Will Go On” as the theme song of the movie “Titanic” plays a role of conclusion of the sorrowful yet beautiful love story. This song brings the misty, vast and uninhibited feeling echoed in the ears from the high sky. Accompanied by ups and downs of the song, the melody becomes the key in the love theme of the film. It condenses the exact definition of love which Jack and Rose performs around 200 minutes, shocks the heart of viewers deeply, and leaves the tears to them. On the other hand, the other theme, the feeling of disaster has been weakened, as if the promise of love and song of love gives the sublimation to the spirit of the characters in the tragedy. After watching this movie, viewers would recall the soul-stirring story when they listen to the song, “My Heart Will Go On”. With the fantastic performance by Celine Dion, “My Heart Will Go On” holds on the top 1st of the US Billboard for 16 weeks continuously. According to a statistics, it indicates that Celine Dion’s album “My Heart Will Go On” sell like a hot cake caused by focuses on anniversary of the attractive theme from “Titanic” (Trust, G, 2012) Consequently, the popularity of the theme song of ‘Titanic’ has a huge impact on box office.

Although usually around 7 to 8 soundtracks in a film, there is one theme song performed in several scenes and throughout the story, and the melody of it would be different each time, sometimes on changes of speed, sometimes on variations of instruments. (Beyond, P1: Music has traditionally been regarded as a subordinate element in the standard film genres and film conceptualise music)For example, in the movie “Titanic”, there are at least three scenes with the theme song performed, Jack and Rose standing at bow of the ship accompanied by Scottish bagpipes and human voice, Jack is painting for Rose accompanied by piano, and elder Rose in sleep accompanied by Scottish bagpipes, human voice and piano. With the different plot of each scene, the different techniques for handling music could give more extensive imagination of the theme of the film to the viewers other than the picture and avoid the boring of the repetitions.

As the theme song of the movie “Titanic”, “My Heart Will Go On” presents a forever pure love, so that it is responded and throughout each scenes this movie of love. If picture is the skeleton of the movie, the music gives it a soul. As a new type of musical expression, the soundtrack in movie sends out its own fascination, and acts as a key role in the movie. In each scenes of every movie, no matter the happiness, angry, sadness, or horror, the soundtrack is absolutely necessary that would give the vitality to pictures, and put the relative imagination to viewer’s mind. An excellent movie gives viewers not only the memory of a fantastic story, but also beautiful soundtracks (usually the theme song). And with the passage of time, even though the story would be blurred, the soundtracks still hovers in the mind, and it would fetch back the memory of the story sometimes.

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