rr-3 - Altmans The American Musical Genre Chapter...

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Altman’s The American Musical Genre Chapter 4—Structure Earlier key points: Dual focus Narrative : “Seen as a cultural problem-solving device, the musical takes on a new and fascinating identity. Society is defined by a fundamental paradox: both terms of the opposition son which it is built (order/liberty, progress/stability, work/entertainment, and so forth) are seen as desirable, yet the terms are perceived as mutually exclusive. Every society possesses texts which obscure this paradox, prevent it from appearing threatening , and thus assure the society’s stability . The musical is one of the most important types of text to serve this function in American life. By reconciling terms previously seen as mutually exclusive, the musical succeeds in reducing an unsatisfactory paradox to a more workable configuration, a concordance of opposites .” (Chapter 2) Structure of the American film musical: The American film musical has a fundamentally dualistic structure that presents psychological change “by setting it in the context constituted by the other lover’s parallel and inverse change.” The dualism is manifested in four different components and relationships which also operate as a four- step interpretive procedure. The four components are: 1) The film progresses through a series of paired segments matching the male and female leads; 2) Each separate part of the film recapitulates the film’s overall duality; 3) The basic sexual duality overlays a secondary dichotomy; 4) The marriage which resoles the primary (sexual) dichotomy also mediates between the two terms of the secondary (thematic) oppositions. (One aspect of the secondary thematic dichotomy remains constant: One side of the thematic dichotomy is closely associated with the work ethic and its values, while the other is devoted to those activities and qualities traditionally identified with entertainment”
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rr-3 - Altmans The American Musical Genre Chapter...

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