Journal of Film Music, Vol 2, No 2-4 (2009)

Film Studies in Musicology: Disciplinarity vs.Interdisciplinarity

William H. Rosar
Issued Date: 15 Mar 2010

Abstract


Since the turn of the 21st century the term “film
musicology” has gradually come into use in
Anglophone scholarship, though apparently
without there being any published definition of its
disciplinary scope and methodology in relationship to
musicology and film studies, respectively. For example
in reviewing the 2004 critical study Hollywood Theory,
Non-Hollywood Practice by Annette Davison, Leslie
Andersen comments that “Davison describes [her]
research early on as ‘film musicology’ (p. 1) without
a definition as to what this is. Is ‘film musicology’
the musicology of film or the study of film music?
Davison assumes that the reader understands what
this term means without documenting its origin.” A
clue can be found on the dust jacket of Davison’s book
that quotes praise for the book from Robynn Stilwell:
“Annette Davison offers a second-generation approach
to film musicology that stands in relationship to the
first generation (Gorbman, Kalinak, et al) much as
her subject stands to Hollywood cinema—building
on, reacting against, making us think about the most
basic issues with new critical facilities.” Inasmuch
as neither Gorbman nor Kalinak are musicologists,
but are film scholars by virtue of academic training
and professional discipline, and the et alia to whom
Stilwell alludes are disciplinarily anonymous, how did
film musicology come to be constituted as a field of
scholarly inquiry, if not by musicologists?

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DOI: 10.1558/jfm.v2i2-4.99

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