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Mychael Danna's Fusion of Styles in the Score for Life of Pi

Alicz, Danielle Colette (2021) Mychael Danna's Fusion of Styles in the Score for Life of Pi. Masters thesis, Northern Arizona University.

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Abstract

A well-executed film score will not only support the story, but also intensify the drama and emotional impact. Numerous studies regarding the psychological effect on the audience show that music manipulates perception of images. Known as a pioneer in the film industry for his technique, Mychael Danna fuses musical genres and instruments from different cultures and eras to enhance the setting, plot, and experience of the film. In an unusual story of survival, faith, and hope, the movie Life of Pi unites humanity into one person represented in the film’s protagonist. Danna incorporates musical expressions from disparate cultures, like Hindustani ragas and Indian instruments, liturgical traditions, and a Western orchestra, into a surprising and cohesive arrangement that supports the narrative. The sounds, divergent from the typical aural experience, create tension in the audience because they cannot predict the action on screen based on pre-conditioned presumptions. Danna challenges perceptions and expectations about what a film score should be by blending Eastern and Western musical styles. Close examination of scenes demonstrates subtle emotional cues Danna inserts into each image in order to elicit specific responses. The approach to go against expectations is inventive and effective in influencing perception of the film, making each scene more intriguing. Embracing musical culture from around the globe, Danna reimagines the possibilities, disregards the separations of genres, and connects humanity through a diversity of musical expression.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Publisher’s Statement: © Copyright is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the Cline Library, Northern Arizona University. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Keywords: Alicz; Mychael Danna; Fusion of Music Styles ; Life of Pi; Film music
Subjects: M Music and Books on Music > ML Literature of music
NAU Depositing Author Academic Status: Student
Department/Unit: Graduate College > Theses and Dissertations
College of Arts and Letters > School of Music
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2022 16:24
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 16:24
URI: https://openknowledge.nau.edu/id/eprint/5711

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