Qvick, Sanna (TY): The Narrative Strategies in the Soundtracks of Finnish Fairy Tale Films for Children
I did my master's thesis on the conventional use of music in a children's fairytale film. I used the analytical tools of Graham Bruce, who had done research on the film music of Bernard Herrmann and especially the music Herrmann wrote for the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Bruce's main focus was the construction of suspense with music. The end result of my MA was that the same music conventions could be found in a Finnish children's fairy tale film. Could there possibly be something more to this phenomenon? As these conventions could be found in two different types of film, across the genres, maybe there will be something else? One of the connecting points of these films was their narrative quality.
The aim of my PhD project is to find out how music interacts with the image track when the narrative is explored. Does the film music have its own narrative strategies as does a film's visual input? Although in films the audio track consists of many segments (e.g. dialogue, sound effects) and even though on the soundtrack these segments usually are very intertwined with each other, my main focus is going to be the music. My data is a selection of children's fairy tale films that were made in Finland between 1949 and 2004. The stories of the films convey the tales of growing up, becoming an adult, dealing with big concepts like war and love, etc. All the scripts are based in existing literature.
My theoretical basis is in the psychology of perception and memory, as I am studying an observable quality of films. In the analysis of these films, I will be using the concepts and analysis methods of film studies, narratology and musicology. I hope to find correlation between musical and visual narratives; one could say the same in music as the montage is for the image track.
I'm in the beginning stages of my work. I have done preliminary analyses of the films and a close reading of the methodological literature. I estimate that my PhD will be completed in 2016.