Music and sounds in Lynch's "Blue Velvet".

Essay by laurakaramUniversity, Bachelor's December 2007

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

In Blue Velvet, Lynch uses sound and music in several different ways, to enhance atmosphere, establish mood, but also sometimes to help telling the story itself.

Indeed, first, Badalamenti’s score contributes to complete the film’s themes. Lynch depicts a seemingly beautiful and quiet small town, but like everything, a hidden side reveals evil, pain, madness. The music denotes this hidden side, and even mystery and darkness. But particularly, it contrasts with the ‘50s (stereotyped as the happiest Americans years) style pop songs heard throughout the film, that indicates the appearances of joy and peacefulness.

Plus, the score often immerses the audience in a film noir mood, a detective film or something alike. It creates a certain type of genre mixture, as this music contrasts with an often colorful image and more ordinary characters than in noir films. Thus, music brings a new dimension to the film and doesn’t just describe the image’s ambiance.

Furthermore, music can be a narrative by itself in some scenes, for instance in the sequence where Jeff and Sandy just met and they’re walking at night. On screen, we see two people talking and even having fun – she laughs to his ‘chicken walk’. Contrastingly, the music is tormenting and stressful. It puts the audience in a more tensed mood, like if this encounter showed the beginning of trouble (she shows him Dorothy’s building).

In the opening sequence that symbolizes the whole film, a contrast is already introduced between the generic orchestral music; and Bobby Vinton’s romantic ‘Blue Velvet’ played non diegetically, over the images of a happy American town. It’s kind of a nostalgic sequence from the happy times of the ‘50s. All the ‘supposed diegetic’ sounds are first off (fire truck, children – actually quiet, TV…), and the first that we hear is the...