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Bio-picsA Life in Pictures$
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Ellen Cheshire

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172059

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172059.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM COLUMBIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.columbia.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Minnesota Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CUPSO for personal use.date: 28 June 2022

The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music

Singers and Musicians Take Centre Stage

(p.21) 1 The Sound of Music

Ellen Cheshire

Columbia University Press

The narrative structure of music bio-pics can be seen as offering a contradiction to other emotion-driven dramas. In principle, the purpose of a narrative is to get from the beginning to the end of a story with the least amount of fuss. However, in a music bio-pic the narrative is constantly being interrupted by the songs. Within the bio-pic, the music can either be used on the soundtrack, as a work-in-progress, a fantasy sequence, re-viewed or as a finished performed musical routine. Sometimes these are used to support or clarify the subject's emotional status or as pure entertainment. This chapter examines three films—Ray (2004), Beyond the Sea (2004), and I'm Not There (2007)—which explore the lives of three twentieth-century singers Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, and Bob Dylan, respectively. The narrative structure of the latter two relies on the audience having an appreciation of its generic predecessors, the more traditional cradle-to-grave approach as demonstrated by the first.

Keywords:   music bio-pics, films, Ray, Beyond the Sea, I'm Not There, Ray Charles, Bobby Darin, Bob Dylan, narrative structure

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