Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Leitmotifs in NOWHERENOW #2

In the NOWHERENOW soundtrack not only the (but two) figures entertain a signature melody. Instead, I have attached motives to the figure's returning emotional states, central goals and character traits.

One of the professor's character traits remains musically uncommented, namely his queerness. The bizarre labatory of the mad professor is so unaquivocally visible that I didn't want to cap it all, and thereby reiterate the obvious.

The first leitmotif denotes the journalist's loneliness. The latter is not consciously felt by him initially, but the music is meant to conceive this view to the recipient. The motive is presented with the first fade-in in a straightforward manner:


+ The Journalist.mp3

The "loneliness motive" appears again in, e. g., Euphory, Triumph, Fight from bar 99 played by the Glockenspiel, where it contrasts the journalist's decision to support the professor by following him into the water in order to stop him. In the Final, bar 25 ff. or letter B, respectively, the process of insight of the journalist from his own failure to diving into the professor's phantastic vision is driven by this motive.

A necessary condition for being a leitmotif is its repeated appearance, in order to construe the reiteration of a thought. This condition is not quite met by the motive for the journalist's cynisism; it is a guitar lick consisting in no more than one repeated note emanating from his headphones:

+ Headphones Music.mp3

The "Where Do I Begin" of NOWHERENOW is played by four celli, put in 9/4 time signature, which is the motive for the professor's vision:


+ The Professor's Vision.mp3

This motive appears whenever the professor's eyes are shining. This is the case, e. g., when he explains the spaceship's function to the journalist, or (at double tempo) when he finds the spaceship's key after all, and performs a jig. In the Final the motive becomes the accompaniement for the "fantasy triumphs over cynicism"-melody, whereby we have reached the final leitmotif.

The ending of the film remains quite open. By contrast, the music unambigiously sounds like a professor who is hovering on air (Final, bar 42 or letter E ff., respectively):


+ Accomplished.mp3

In the middle of the film the professor already feels as if the start was a success. From bar 89 in the "Triumph March", the motive is (in slight modification, because of different harmonies) passed through the brass voices, subdivided into half bars.
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