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Hymns for the FallenCombat Movie Music and Sound after Vietnam$
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Todd Decker

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780520282322

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520282322.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Helicopter Music

Helicopter Music

Chapter:
(p.145) 7. Helicopter Music
Source:
Hymns for the Fallen
Author(s):

Todd Decker

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520282322.003.0008

This chapter considers the sonic representation of the helicopter in combat films set in Vietnam and the Greater Middle East. The sound of unseen helicopters has frequently been used as a kind of effects-made music underlining tense narrative moments or dialogue. The sound of helicopter rotors in scenes set on or near helicopters has often been modulated (lowered in volume) or replaced entirely by music. Special attention is given to scenes of soldiers inside helicopters riding into battle and to how music has been used to shape the cinematic experience of helicopter-borne battle. Film form often follows musical form when helos take to the skies on-screen. The helicopter attack on a Vietnamese village to the supposedly diegetic sound of Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyries” in Apocalypse Now is analyzed in detail. The editor Walter Murch built the sequence on Wagner’s musical form, expressing an equivalence between musical pleasure and the pleasures of firing weapons.

Keywords:   Apocalypse Now, helicopters, sound effects, Walter Murch, “Ride of the Valkyries,”, diegetic sound, musical form, film form, musical pleasure

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