“It’s Like Poetry, They Rhyme”: Operatic structure, musical/audiovisual and emotive conventions in Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Sebastian Rodriguez Mayen, University of Ottawa
Abstract: “It’s Like Poetry, They Rhyme”, is a known quote by George Lucas, which has been used (and abused) by his fans when referencing his work on shaping the parallels of his prequel trilogy of Star Wars (EP. I, II, III), in relation with the original trilogy (Ep, IV,V,VI). However, the expression can be self referential, it is to say, it can be applied to elements in the prequels themselves. The place where such a poetic idea resounds stronger is in the successful finale of the prequel trilogy, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Being its dramatic climax, sometimes this episode’s structure mirrors that of an opera. This paper will analyze, using methods explored by Michael Chion, Emilio Audissino, James Buhler and David Neumeyer, how the musical structure of the whole episode does mirror some of the most recognizable traditions of opera, particularly that of the 19th Century. My proposed methodology will analyze this film through its audiovisual structure, but also through commutation tests on key narrative moments to check for such perceptive effects.
Bio: Sebastian Rodriguez Mayen has followed an academic career both as an historian (BA from University of Alberta – Campus Saint-Jean) and a musicologist (MMus from Université de Montréal). He completed his most recent degree in 2018 under the tutelage of Marie-Hélène Benoit-Otis with a Master’s Thesis about pacifism in Western art music, studying the work of Britten, Foulds, Shostakovich and Bernstein. Sebastian has since collaborated on her project about the propagandistic uses and abuses of Mozart’s music during the Third Reich. He has presented working papers for conferences in Canada and France about diverse topics ranging from music and propaganda (MUSCAN, Edmonton 2021) to music-hall historiography (Le Music-Hall après le music-hall, Paris 2022). Sebastian was selected for the Interdisciplinary PhD in Music in 2020 given his mutual interest on history and music at the University of Ottawa.
Inclusive listening: considering the sound/image synergy of an object for audio-visual composition
Alessia Anastassopulos , University of Huddersfield
Abstract: This research's main interests are the ways of listening to the concrete sounds of the everyday environment and the sound/image synergy as an implication for the choice of artistic material used in audio-visual composition.
This study wants to investigate our relationship with the everyday environment, using inclusive listening as a means for audio-visual composition. Inclusive listening is a state of awareness that moves us to consider the audio-visual object in its entirety while selecting composition material.
This concept implies selecting objects for both their visual and sonic connotations. Regarding the sonic, inclusive listening comprises the sound that an object generates at the moment of selection as well as the ones it could produce.
This study draws from a context of research in concrete sound initiated by the Groupe de
recherches musicales, which served as a foundation for research in sound awareness brought forward by the World Soundscape Project. Beginning from Schaeffer's concept of écoute réduite (Schaeffer, 1966) then going through Chion's added value (Chion, 1993), Garro's audio-visual object (Garro, 2005), Hyde's visual suspension (Hyde, 2012), Mcdonell's visual listening (Mcdonell, 2020) and Boucher's understanding of meaning in the audio-visual
practice (Boucher, 2020), this presentation will start by considering the different modes of listening to concrete sound and arrive to the concept of inclusive listening which will be demonstrated through excerpts of work. In soundscape composition, the creative process starts with sound awareness. The attention we give to the environment can determine what material we use in our creative work. With inclusive listening, both the visual and the object's sonic properties determine our choices.
This research has been implemented through a qualitative approach and a practice-based work that has led to the creation of a series of audio-visual compositions.
The presentation will be brought forward using examples and excerpts from two recent works: The Crocodile and The Sound Dealer. These two compositions, that contrast in terms of length and production technique, feature objects selected through inclusive listening for their audio-visual properties. These objects appear in the works in their sonic/visual entirety.
Bio: Alessia Anastassopulos is an Italo-Greek musician. Starting in childhood with a classical training through the study of the violin, she obtained a Bachelor's degree in violin performance in 2015. Developing a musical interest in Music-therapy, she achieved a professional diploma in Music Therapy in 2017 and continued her studies with a Master's degree in Music and New Technologies that she completed in 2018, obtaining 110/110 Magna Cum Laude by presenting Dialogues, a series of six short audiovisual compositions.
In the last five years, her interest has been directed towards sound and image and from 2016 to the present year, her audiovisual compositions have been selected for projection in Italy and abroad. Her recent audiovisual composition I speak the city has won in 2020 the Best Director and Best Screenplay at the Maverick Movie Awards and has been selected in 2019 for the Sound
And Vision International Film & Technology Festival of New York. Alessia has had the chance to collaborate in 2017 with the Astronomical Observatory of Arcetri (Italy) for creating the soundtracks of the early 1900 short films used in Visione Notturna V – Silent Moonshow which had it's opening at the La Compagnia cinema of Florence. In the same year, she collaborated with the NGO Emergency for the original audiovisual composition Saadwhich was projected at the Arsenale Cinema of Pisa.
Currently a second-year Ph.D. music student at the University of Huddersfield, her research focuses on the use of concrete sound for narrative through audiovisual composition.