Music video theories

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Page 1: Music video theories


Page 2: Music video theories

Andrew GoodwinAndrew Goodwin’s theory is looking

at 5 different aspects of a music video:

1. Thought Beats2. Narrative and performance3. The star images4. Technical aspects of the music

video5. Relation of visuals to song

Camera workMise en sceneEditingSound

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Thought beatsFor this aspect, Goodwin wants the

listener to pay attention to the chorus and verses of the song. A deeper understanding of the song has to be extracted while watching a music video.

The next step involves the artists and how they should be seen as an instrument by the audience. Since each artist has their own voice, a judgement on how well a song works with their singing techniques has to be made.

The last step implements the artists’ mode. Sometimes, they are seen as storytellers where the music video is identify as being a play. They take the roll of the narrators while the audience is consuming the information given.

This aspect goes hand in hand with my music video. The narrative element will be implemented as the whole idea is to create a cinematic story line while the singer is the narrator. For this, I have to chose the right song as the visuals and the sound have to match. Otherwise, a confusion can be caused and the original purpose of the music video will be lost.

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Narrative and performanceThe audience is more likely to create

their own interpretation of the song, which in most cases it is the opposite of the real concept.

Goodwin argues that narrative and performance based music videos are the best options, as the message is established from the beginning. This makes the audience have a better understanding throughout the video, as there will be no confusions on what the plot is about and what the theme is.

The participation of the artist is another key element, as it creates a connection between him and the song. The audience will not classify the artists as only the voice behind the lyrics. By taking part, the message has more changes to be sent across the audience, as it can make them believe that the artist created the song based on his own experience.

I agree the most with this aspect, as the whole purpose of my music video is for it to have a narrative line. I want to send a message to the audience, without any mislead interpretations to be created. By doing this, my themes of ‘love, adventure and happiness’ will be received and acknowledged by the target audience. However, I can not benefit from the participation of the artist in the music video. This is because, I will use an already published song by a famous artist. I am aware that this might create controversy. In order to meet my concept, I will have to find an artist whose song’s message matches my music video’s views and the way that I want it to be portrayed.

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Star imageThe star image is an important part in the

music video production. It is link to the way the artist in being portrayed to his fans audience. It is known as being a technique used by record label in order to increase the sales numbers of their albums or singles. The artist should have its own unique image such as the sense of fashion eg. Lady Gaga. Through this technique , the artist can benefit from a long term fame , as they will always be remembered for their unique star image. In music videos, especially in the rap genre different angles are used in order to represent the star image. Eg women are being portray as being a sexual object and dominated by men.

This goes hand in hand with Laura Mulvey’s theory where she states that females are portray by social media through the men’s eyes. However, the label records are seeing it as a tool for increasing revenues.

I can not apply this aspect as the artist will not be an element in the music video production. The main character is a teenager girl. In order to make the audience aware of her and her age, the use of costumes and make up is a great method that could be applied. Casual clothes is the main look which will be used throughout the music video, eg. Ripped jeans, denim jackets.

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Relation of visual to songA song is promoted by a music

video in 3 different ways:Illustrate – this is when the

visuals work hand in hand with the lyrics of the song in order to create a clear meaning for the audience

Disjuncture- this is when the music video is completely ignoring the meaning of the song

Amplify- this is when specific shots are repetitive so that the meaning can be manipulated.

The illustrate method is definitely the one I will be using throughout the entire music vide. The whole purpose of it, is to create a narrative story. In other words, the images have to match the song. For this, I will have to pick up an artist which views and work are the same or complement mine.

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Roland BarthesHe created 5 different codes which have

to be included in the music videos:

The Hermeneutic code – the music video should have a clear message which the audience can easily identify.

The enigma code - the music video should end with a cliff hanger, leaving the audience in suspense.

The semantic code- the music video should be based on the lyrics’ connotations.

The symbolic code- the music video should be based on lyrics’ hidden or deeper meanings.

The cultural code – the music video should emphasise on the audiences' culture, ideology and morality.

In my music video, I will not implement all the 5 codes as some of them do not meet my concepts. For example, I would not want the music video to end with a cliff hanger. I think this technique should only be used with films. The audience will prefer to know how the story implemented in a music video ends. However, this could be applied if the artist is planning to create a second music video as a continuation of the previous one.

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Vladimir Propps Vladimir Propp was a Russian critic who noticed

that the majority of the Folk tales are very similar to each other and the character provides a structure for the plot.

He found that there are typical characters such as the ‘hero-a character that seeks something’, ‘the villain-who opposes or actively block the hero’s quest’, as well as the ‘false hero-disrupts the hero’s success by making false claims’

. There are other theories that apply in the ‘struggle scenes’. For example there is always a struggle between the hero and villain and the hero is always recognised by the audience or a false hero could be punished in the scene.

In this situation, Propp’s theory does not apply to my music video. This is because I have a different concept on the structure that I want to implement. For example, I do not want to include two main characters to portray ‘the hero’ and ‘the villain’. The purpose of the music video is to create a narrative pattern which represents a cinematic story of a teenager travelling in different countries. The different relationships that she has with the people that she travels with should be extracted and recognised by the audience. There should be no story which shows a distribution between the main character and a ‘villain’.