There and Back Again: Music as Suture and Desuture in the Fantasy Film Franchise

Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


This paper analyses the uses of music and sound in the opening and closing sequences of one of Peter Jackson's Middle-earth trilogies: The Lord of the Rings (2001-2003). The opening musical moments of each film are shown to be using motif, harmony, texture and instrumentation as well as other sonic apparatus to bring viewers into a film. The paratextual nature of opening sequences might lead us to understand them as theoretical gateways or airlocks, but it is the psychoanalytical concept of suture that proves most effective in theorising music's dual roles in drawing an audience into a film-world and simultaneously building that world around them. The notion of desuture proves equally valuable in theorising music's worldbuilding roles in the closing moments of a film.
Period23 Feb 2023
Held atUniversity of Leeds, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionNational