The Kuleshov effect and music

The Russian filmmaker Kuleshov demonstrated in his day that montage can condition the public's understanding, that is, that the order of the shots affects, in one way or another, the people who see the film.

In this way, Kuleshov got three combinations to experiment with. He did it by taking the same shot of an actor with a neutral expression, which, in turn, was combined with the shot of a bowl of soup, with the shot of a woman in a coffin, and with the shot of a girl playing with a doll. plush The result was that people in the audience believed there were different takes of the actor because his expression changed in each sequence. With this, the power of filmic syntax was demonstrated; the sadness or the happiness of the spectators before the succession of images was determined by the montage.

In the same way we can talk about a Kuleshov effect in music if we combine the same scene with different melodies. For example, if we do it with blues melodies, we can express loneliness, sorrow or boredom, depending on the chords we use. If we load that same scene with rock, it will transmit vitality to us, and if we put classical music on it, what it will transmit to us will be introspection.

These assessments are some of the many that can be reached after reading the essay entitled 'Why music?', written by the French philosopher Francis Wolff and translated by Juan Córdoba. This work opens with a journey through sound expression that goes from the naked word to music in its purest state where the voice has already disappeared. From the myths, the legends and the oral story, to Manuel de Falla through the saeta, where the unaccompanied voice sings its song.

With this start, Wolff makes a statement of intent for what comes after, where he is going to break down the explicit beat that sets each musical discourse in motion, defining it as the driving force of music where the repetition of bars is what gives it its dynamism. . If there were no repetition, there would be no movement and we would be faced with static forms that would paralyze the engine that drives musical beats.

They are caliber appreciations contained in a juicy essay that theorizes about music and, with it, about the arts in all their extension. A reading of more than 500 tight pages loaded with musical examples that convert 'Why music?' in a fundamental book for all the people who like to browse the art of sounds, their history and their transmission.

The book has just been published in a joint edition of El Paseo with the Gong Series, the literary imprint of one of the most restless men in this country: Gonzalo García-Pelayo, music producer, filmmaker and casino ruiner; a most curious guy who started his career setting up a club in Seville at the end of the sixties, a ye-yé place where he introduced rock and psychedelia in those times when, for much less, they would get you into the jail.

The club was called Dom Gonzalo and well deserves another piece that recounts its role as a catalyst for a city that was ahead of its time when charcoal gray and the smell of Pascual wax dominated the scene of a country doomed to rot. A country, ours, where the only possible montage of images was the one that conveyed resignation.

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