Cohen- Defining the Musical

  • Martin Rubin calls the musical an imposible genre, meaning that numbers are impossible from the realistic side of the narrative. As well, the impossibility comes from a spatial point of view. This also occurs into the sense of its impact to an audience from a real-life theater musical (for instance, continuity editing changes experience) - makes the experience realistically impossible. This makes the space become cinematic, rather than being 'true to life' and limited to a single human perspective.
  • Berkeley with The Gold Diggers of 33 and A Star Is Born showcase how impossibility is on a spectrum. Gold Diggers with the fantastical image and A Star Is Born with the seamless numbers that don't disrupt the narrative illusion.
  • Actors in narrative sequences rarely face the character, so the gaze gives realistic dimensions of narrative space. In musical numbers, performers face the camera (example of making illusory space). Shifts from character to performer. This effect makes someone experience a double identification with the sequence (identifies with character, but also judges performance of actor)
  • Initially, the first musicals shot while singing live with an orchestra out of camera range, but in the 30's they became pre-recorded in a studio.
  • Most of the release prints had difference in volume, echo, and reverberation from dialogue and recorded singing. They were louder since they could record singing in a studio with a microphone closer to them,
  • embodied liberation: showing the character liberation/freeness through the musicality of their body movement.
  • Integrated musical: gives the impression that numbers move the narrative along. Makes the transition from narrative to number and back again stylistically fluid. Effect is achieved by 1) through musical underscoring (anticipating the melody of a song), 2) when orchestration or dialogue increases in volume to introduce number. 3) stance and delivery that turns dialogue into a song or a bodily gesture into a dance move.
  • Aggregated musical: stylistically brackets numbers from the narrative. (backstage narrative). more stylized sets and costumes, feature specialty acts and filmed and edited differently.
  • The show musical/about the show, fairy tale musical/about the couple, folk musical./about the community


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