Music Religion and Expression

Jessica H. Howard’s Article, Hallelujah! Transformation in film, really demonstrates how significant the style of filmmaking and incorporation of music in Hallelujah! was to the creation of its genre. Prior to this movie, music had served as a backing track that sought to provide ambience and was often added as a contributing factor to the film. In this movie, that idea was flipped on its head and music played an integral role in shaping the story and moving the plot. Not only was the idea of music adding to a movie in this matter revolutionary, so too was the nature in which it was administered. King Vidor painstakingly added the soundtrack to the movie to line up with the scenes after recording it in a studio. This strategy changed folk-music films forever.
This article also brought to light, what King Vidor thought, was an extremely important aspect of the black experience at this time. He felt that music was integral to all aspects of black life. This is made evident through the emergence of music anytime an important event occurred in the plot or Zeke had to make a decision. When this happened, the scene began to shift and Zeke or whichever character the scene was centered around migrated their inflection to singing. Often placing other characters in a trancelike state where they were moved to choose between the lord or their own sexual desires. This dichotomy really changed how I saw the film. Without seeing Chick and Zeke as two ends of a dichotomy the film feels aimless with a simple plot and lesson. However, after understanding this the films feels more like a story of someone caught between two sides of themself that are in total opposition.This image requires alt text, but the alt text is currently blank. Either add alt text or mark the image as decorative.

2 thoughts on “Music Religion and Expression

  1. I loved your take on the dichotomy between Chick and Zeke, and completely agree that movie seemed insignificant without that underlying message. Additionally, the music in this film created the mood in many scenes like you mentioned, and made the film have more character than it would have had otherwise.

  2. Hey Jack, It’s really interesting how you saw that the dichotomy between Chick and Zeke gave the film a better taste. The fact that Zeke had to choose between his spiritual or physical interest is what cause pain and pleasure for himself and the rest of the character in the film. Also, like you said, the use of music when scenes change served as a great story teller.

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