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Mus 468

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1) Describe the three basic types of music heard in original scores during the silent film era and cites specific examples from The Birth of a Nation. (10 points)
There are three basic types of music heard in The Birth of a Nation. Each type serves it’s own purpose in the film. The first is adaptations of classical works. These adaptations are extended versions of the original classical piece of work. These adaptations are used for extensive action scenes. For example, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyrie is the leitmotif for the Klu Klux Klan in the movie. The second type is arrangements of well-known melodies. These well-known melodies are used for emotional appeal. For example, “Dixie”, a very popular song of the South, is used to express Southern patriotism. Also, these well-known melodies were used to set a racist mood. A scene shows slaves dancing to “Turkey in the Straw”. Lastly, the third type is original music. The original music is used to reinforce the characters of the movie. For example, Elsie has a sweet, playful leitmotif. This theme implies her innocence. The original music in The Birth of a Nation is the strongest of the three types, composed by Joseph Carl Briel.

2) What is the role of source music in Casablanca? (10 points)
The role of source music in Casablanca is in the development of the character Rick. The source music used is mostly American popular music. All the popular songs used are barrowed. The only exception is “Knock on Wood,” which was created specially for this film. The beginning of the film starts with melodies that set the mood, location, and conflicts between France and Germany. “Knock on Wood” is used in Rick’s Cafe Americain with the character Ugarte, who plays a thief in the film. This tunes helps create the superficial ambiance of the Café. “As Time Goes By” is another tune that indicates a love theme between Rick and Ilsa. T

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