Key features of music video

 Music Videos work around 3 codes – music, lyrics and iconography. The relationship between these codes is key to understanding how music videos work.  They are designed to provide pleasure in order to keep the viewer watching, and to encourage repeat viewings  The starting point for analysis is to explore whether the video is primarily performance-based, narrative-based or concept-based and how elements of each are used in it. The following questions are worth asking of any Music Video: Question: Do the visuals illustrate, amplify or offer disjuncture with the lyrics? Question: Do the visuals illustrate, amplify or offer disjuncture with the music? Key terms: Illustration: not always literal Amplification: new layers of meaning added to the song Disjuncture: contradiction between lyrics and image
Adapted from Fraser, P: Teaching Music Video

KEY THEORY – MUSIC VIDEO
Andrew Goodwin, in Dancing in the Distraction Factory (1992, Routledge), has identified the following features of music videos: 1. Music videos demonstrate genre characteristics (eg stage performance in metal video, dance routine for boy/girl band). 2. There is a relationship between lyrics and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting). 3. There is a relationship between music and visuals (either illustrative, amplifying, contradicting). 4. The demands of the record label will include the need for lots of close-ups of the artist (visual hooks) and the artist may develop motifs which recur across their work (a visual style). These include CU of the star’s face (the ‘money shots’), iconography of band image, visual trademarks/ motifs. 5. There is frequently reference to the notion of looking (screens within screens, telescopes, etc) and particularly voyeuristic treatment of the female body. 6. There is often intertextual reference (to films, TV programmes, other music videos, etc). You can use Goodwin’s categories to analyse music videos for yourself. See the sheet of questions to help you.

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