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Vassilakis, P.N. (2004c).  Towards a phenomenology of film music.  Proceedings of the 2nd Annual HICAH.  CD-ROM (ISSN #1541-5899), Honolulu, HI.  [http://www.hichumanities.org]


The study addresses the general theoretical issue of musicís position within the cinematic experience, searching for a deeper understanding of film music's meaning-construction potential. A critique of psychoanalytic and cognitive-based theories of film music is followed by an outline of a new approach that places distinct emphasis on film as a unified experience. The commonly held assumption that film musicís function is to Ďhypnotizeí audiences and facilitate absorption, which is presumably threatened by the fragmentary nature of cinema, is strongly contested. A phenomenological rather than semiotic examination of film texts supports arguments for the productive potential of being absorbed and the fragmentary basis of all experience, introducing absorption as a necessary condition for change and growth. It is argued that, in a unified cinematic experience, and similarly to all experience, meaning arises out of the configuring of visual and aural fragments into a whole by the spectator/auditor, rather than out of and subsequently to the interaction of independently prefigured meanings of music and image. Combining this approach with the notion that artís function is to enlarge reality helps recognize film music as an indispensable contributor to the making of possible worlds rather than a hypnotizing wash that lulls spectators into accepting any world.