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The Soundtrack of a Leader: Scoring a Psychological Portrait of Megalomania

Selway, Matt ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0692-3773 (2020) The Soundtrack of a Leader: Scoring a Psychological Portrait of Megalomania. Journal for Cultural Research.

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The Soundtrack of a Leader Article - Revised.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until 2 February 2022.

Abstract

This article presents an analysis of the original score for the 2015 film The Childhood of a Leader, which was composed by the enigmatic and reclusive popstar-turned-avant-garde-experimentalist Scott Walker. In particular, the analysis here considers that important function that Walker’s score plays in illuminating the central protagonist’s evolving megalomaniacal state. The film’s narration of a would-be Fascist leader’s childhood is punctuated and enhanced by Walker’s challenging and aggressive composition, which aurally complements and symbolises the growing disquiet in the youngster’s mind. Focussing firstly on the significant influence of European art and culture on Walker’s musical style and the role of European cinema and aesthetics in Brady Corbet’s direction of the film, the understanding of Walker’s sonic techniques and their use in the film become contextualised with a specific grounding in ‘European Imagination’. The article also explores the combination of sound and images through conceptual and theoretical notions such as Gilles Deleuze’s ‘any-space-whatever’; the use of avant-garde sound techniques such as cacophony and distortion in the composition and sound mixing; before concluding with a textual analysis of the film’s primary creative mode of aligning music to the characterisation of a megalomaniacal mind.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: "This is an accepted version of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal for Cultural Research, on 10/08/2020 available online: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14797585.2020.1806442"
Status: Published
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/14797585.2020.1806442
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF511-593 Affection. Feeling. Emotion
M Music and Books on Music > M Music
M Music and Books on Music > M Music > M176 Film music
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General) For photography, see TR
School/Department: School of Humanities
URI: http://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/4669

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