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Visual Musicality and the Moving Image

Mohamed, Fuad Abdulaziz (2020) Visual Musicality and the Moving Image. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This project focuses on different aspects of City Symphonies. At its origins, it aimed to formulate and to test, through the production of practical work, hypotheses concerning the relationship between moving images and music. While scholars in Film Studies have, over recent decades, published increasingly on film music and soundtracks, there is very little sense in the literature that musical elements of some sort might be discerned within the image track. The City Symphony film genre appeared to be a good starting point for the identification of any such elements, and a ready-made framework for my experimental work, and I travelled to my home city of Sana’a, in Yemen, to do some preliminary shooting and further background research. A war suddenly broke in Yemen a short while into this work. This created a huge challenge for the project and, having decided to stay with Sana’a as my subject, necessitated a change in direction, and a recasting of my research topic. Noting that the war was garnering very little attention outside the region, but also aware of the complexity of the situation and the need to respect its people, including my friends and family in the city, I began working on a new research question: how to represent the conflict for a wider world in a way that avoids reducing this complexity? At this point, City Symphonies acquired a new relevance, especially as I learned that films of the genre can be seen to engage with urban modernity as contradictory and tension-filled, rather than as a neatly wrapped up and ‘objective’ fact. Retaining at least this guiding commitment to complexity not only enabled me to produce a consciousness-raising film, but also, I suggest, a new kind of ‘City Symphony’ to further augment the repertoire of what is a constantly evolving genre.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Fuad Mohamed
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2020 12:04
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2020 12:04

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