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Guest lecture by musicologist Ingeborg Zechner on 15 December 2022 at Thursday Forum

Musicologist Ingeborg Zechner from the Graz University, Austria, will held the guest lecture on 15 December at 2 – 3.30 pm (Musiikkitalo`s meeting room S3101 and Zoom). The title of the lecture is What is a film musical work? Film Music Ontology in the Hollywood Movies of the 1940s.

After the lecture and coffee break Ingeborg will tell about research in Graz, about research topics and projects. 

Thereafter, at 3.45-17.00 pm, there will be  Kaarina Kilpiö`s presentation and free discussion. Kaarina’s  topic is Music making and music professionals in Finnish short films, 1930s to 1950s.

Both lectures are organized as the part of Uniarts History Forum`s Thursday Forum. 

The Thursday Forum is free of charge and open for all interested. The event is arranged onsite at Music Centre Helsinki and you can take part to the lecture also online in Zoom.

Pre-registration is required. Register is open until 9 December 2022: Thursday Forum

What is a film musical work? Film Music Ontology in the Hollywood Movies of the 1940s

Music critics and film composers took an active part in the discourse about the artistic status of Hollywood’s film music in the 1940s. The vivid debate that tried to overcome film music’s derogatory status as “wallpaper” or “unheard” contained important ontological arguments that negotiated the specific nature of film music as an audiovisual art form before the background of the normative historiographical framework of art music.

I will show that an ontological debate about film music – medially situated between art and popular music – enfolded also in the films themselves and can be connected to the contemporary practice of concert adaptations of film music. It is exactly this ontological perspective that provides a novel level of understanding of film music in the 1940s in a historical context that goes beyond its commonly acknowledged narrative function without neglecting it. The negotiation of ontological aspects of film music is especially eminent in movies that featured fictional concert compositions with the real composer in disguise, such asFour Wives (1939, music by Max Steiner), Hangover Square (1945, music by Bernard Herrmann), The Constant Nymph and Deception (1943 and 1946, both with music by Erich Wolfgang Korngold), Night Song (1948, music by Leith Stevens), or The Paradine Case and Humoresque (1947 and 1946, both with music by Franz Waxman). I will analyze different ontological categories (such as collaboration, medial transfers, ephemerality, notation) that have been extracted from the contemporary discourse on film music with selected examples from these movies and connect them with the practice of concert adaptations. I will furthermore demonstrate how these films deal with them as an additional layer in their distinct narratives.

Ingeborg Zechner is a musicologist at the University of Graz (Austria). Her research focuses on music history, musical theatre, and opera from the eighteenth to the twentieth century; sociocultural and reception history of music; film music; music and (inter)media; musical migration/mobility; as well as digital musicology. She is currently Principal Investigator of a research project on Hollywood composer Franz Waxman, financed by the Austrian Science Fund (project no.: P 33029). After receiving her doctorate in historical musicology from the University of Graz in 2014, she worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the Gluck research center at the University of Salzburg. Ingeborg Zechner received the John F. Ward Fellowship of Houghton Library (2013/2014) and was awarded a Fulbright Visiting Scholar Grant at Syracuse University (2018/2019).

Dynamic interpretations of the past

The Uniarts Helsinki History Forum blog regularly publishes comments on topical themes and initiatives regarding the history of performing arts. The blog posts are written by researchers affiliated with the Uniarts History Forum. In their texts, the researchers shed light on both their own academic projects and the fields of arts and history research in general. The blog “Dynamic interpretations of the past” is a publication (ISSN 2736-9986). Editorial board: Anne Kauppala (editor in chief), Kaarina Kilpiö, Vesa Kurkela, Markus Mantere, Saijaleena Rantanen and Johanna Rauhaniemi (editorial coordinator).

Taideyliopiston Historiafoorumi -tutkimuskeskuksen blogissa julkaistaan säännöllisesti puheenvuoroja esittävien taiteiden historiantutkimuksen ajankohtaisista aiheista ja aloitteista. Blogikirjoitukset kertovat niin tutkimuskeskuksen tutkijoiden omien hankkeista kuin yleisemminkin historian- ja taiteentutkimuksen kentän ilmiöistä. “Dynamic Interpretations of the Past” -blogi on julkaisu (ISSN 2736-9986). Toimitusneuvosto: Anne Kauppala (päätoimittaja), Kaarina Kilpiö, Vesa Kurkela, Markus Mantere, Saijaleena Rantanen ja Johanna Rauhaniemi (toimitussihteeri),

I Konstuniversitetets Historieforums blogg publicerar vi regelbundet kommentarer och initiativ om scenkonstens och musikens historia. Våra bloggtexter är skrivna av de forskare som är affilierade vid Konstuniversitetets Historieforum. Texterna belyser såväl forskarnas egna akademiska projekt som forskningsfälten kring historie- och konstforskning i allmänhet. Bloggen “Dynamic interpretations of the past” är en publication (ISSN 2736-9986). Redaktionsråd: Anne Kauppala (ordförande för redaktionsrådet), Kaarina Kilpiö, Vesa Kurkela, Markus Mantere, Saijaleena Rantanen and Johanna Rauhaniemi (redaktionssekreterare)

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