Week 8 Blog Post

Classical music is used excessively in this film, as both diegetic and extra diegetic music. In the beginning of the movie, the volume of the music was louder when Alex and his gang were committing the violent crimes. The loud music heightens the suspense of the scene and evokes a greater emotional response with the audience. The classical music, especially Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, was diegetic when it was being played in the house and Alex was locked up in the room upstairs. It was extra diegetic when it was being played on the loud speakers in the hospital. At that point, all we could hear was that music and nothing else as the camera made a close-up to Alex’s agonized face. The 9th symphony was a way of controlling Alex. At first it was one of his favorite songs, and he listened to it to calm himself and relax. But after the treatment it becomes a cruel torture device.

Another aspect of sound that stood out to me in the movie was how the dialogue and music intertwined tremendously. Because Alex is the narrator of the whole movie, the music had to coincide with what he was saying and the actions that were happening on screen. I noticed that even when he was talking, the classical music in the background would still be playing as loud as it was before he was speaking. The classical music complements what Alex is saying, especially during the crimes he was narrating.

The music plays with our emotions and thoughts in a way that contradicts what is actually happening. For example, in the scenes where Alex is forced to watch the disturbing videos as part of the experimental treatment, there is upbeat, joyous classical music playing in the background. This distorts our expectations of what music we would expect to be played in a scene like this.


3 thoughts on “Week 8 Blog Post

  1. I agree that this movie played a lot with classical music and switching between diagetic and extra diagetic. I find it rather ironic that classical music played such a big part because the movie is very sex-oriented. The emphasis on the volume of sound was important to each individual scene as well. You accurately pointed out how the music is involved with the dialogue. Certain conversations did not include music at all, while others had music playing constantly in the background as each character spoke. I also like how you pointed out that the music plays with our emotions. The fact that Alex was singing a very upbeat song while beating up the old man and his wife keeps the audience interested as they don’t really know what to make of this scene. If there had been horror music playing in the background, it would have completely changed the outlook on the plot.

  2. I think the music choices allow us both to tolerate this movie and to be made extremely uncomfortable by it. In a way, if music that actually fit the scenes were playing, or even worse, if no music were playing at all, we’d probably be uncomfortable to the point of shutting it off; it would simply be too real (contrasted with all the erotic art, wild colors and odd furniture, it would probably be too unrealistic as well) and we would experience such sensory overload/confusion that we’d just give up on it. However, it also serves to make us just uncomfortable enough that it’s fascinating. Since we can clearly see that Kubrick is trying to convey a sense of Alex’s warped mind that associates good things with inherently bad things, the pleasant sound/unpleasant visual becomes easier to swallow.
    I feel that the use of playful sounds is part of why I started to feel sympathy for Alex toward the middle of the film. It is something of a fact that Alex is to-his-core evil and that he is irredeemable. However, vile as his actions may be, I don’t experience the firey hatred for him that I do for some movie villains. I think this is really due to the sounds that accompany Alex’s terrible deeds; if the things he did were overlaid with appropriate music, I would probably feel differently because I would emotionally experience his violence in a more real way, rather than in a dreamlike, surrealist painting sort of manner.

  3. The classical music in this film is indeed abundant. You can not help but notice it, especially when contrasting against a crime of some sort. One of the first scenes with the boys trying to rape the girl and Alex narrating the story, the music was eerily happy while you see the actions of the boys trying to pull the girl’s clothes off. Then the music was happy all the way through the boys beating up the old man, then driving away in a car with Alex’s scary look through his long lashed eye. I noticed this contrast the most, as intended of Kubrick, and deeply disturbed by it also. It seems to intend the feeling of disgust and you have said with the music evoking emotions – it is very true. It seemed that the music was an amplifier of the scenes. The whole work was done masterfully, as weird as the movie was.

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