Outing the Score

Below you will find audiovisual examples for the chapter ‘ Outing the Score: Music, narrative and collaborative process in Little Ashes’ published in Music, Sound and the Moving Image, Vol. 6, No. 1 (Summer) 2012, pp. 93-109.

Abstract

The detail of the relationship between artist Salvador Dalí and poet Federico García Lorca has long been the subject of speculation and debate amongst historians and biographers. In the feature film Little Ashes (Morrison 2009), Dalí and Lorca’s feelings are shown deepening into a love affair which the sexually repressed painter tries and fails to consummate. As a substitute, Lorca sleeps with a female friend, with Dali present as a voyeur.

The filmic presentation and interpretation of these sexual relationships raises interesting challenges for the narrative positioning of the score. Taking as a starting point Levinson’s theory of the narrative function of non-diegetic music, I explore the agency of the score in relation to the disclosure of emotional truth. Though the music features several oppositional binaries that might be described as an epistemology of the closet, these do not function to present homosexuality as an unstable, deviant or perverse alternative to the fixed norm of heterosexuality, as is the case in a number of other films made for a mainstream cinema audience. As composer for the film, I am uniquely able to comment on the practical and creative interactions that took place, thus providing an insight into the soundtrack both artistically and within its production contexts.

Audiovisual example 1

Lorca and Dali take a moonlight swim

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Audiovisual example 2

Church scene

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Audio example 1

Church scene guitars

Audiovisual example 3

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