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Storytelling in song: television music, narrative and allusion in 'The O.C.'

Woods, F. (2013) Storytelling in song: television music, narrative and allusion in 'The O.C.'. In: Jacobs, J. and Peacock, S. (eds.) Television Aesthetics and Style. Bloomsbury, London, pp. 199-208. ISBN 9781441157515

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Abstract/Summary

Television’s long-form storytelling has the potential to allow the rippling of music across episodes and seasons in interesting ways. In the integration of narrative, music and meaning found in The O.C. (Fox, FOX 2003-7), popular song’s allusive and referential qualities are drawn upon to particularly televisual ends. At times embracing its ‘disruptive’ presence, at others suturing popular music into narrative, at times doing both at once. With television studies largely lacking theories of music, this chapter draws on film music theory and close textual analysis to analyse some of the programme's music moments in detail. In particular it considers the series-spanning use of Jeff Buckley’s cover of ‘Hallelujah’ (and its subsequent oppressive presence across multiple televisual texts), the end of episode musical montage and the use of recurring song fragments as theme within single episodes. In doing so it highlights music's role in the fragmentation and flow of the television aesthetic and popular song’s structural presence in television narrative. Illustrating the multiplicity of popular song’s use in television, these moments demonstrate song’s ability to provide narrative commentary, yet also make particular use of what Ian Garwood describes as the ability of ‘a non-diegetic song to exceed the emotional range displayed by diegetic characters’ (2003:115), to ‘speak’ for characters or to their feelings, contributing to both teen TV’s melodramatic affect and narrative expression.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Arts and Communication Design > Film, Theatre & Television
ID Code:33187
Publisher:Bloomsbury

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