The previous essay of the film scoring analysis of Croaching Tiger, Hidden Dragon is revised for reference.
The scenario about how Jen loves at first sight with ‘Dark Cloud' is also worth of considering. In this scene, the somewhat exotic style of music is played by yun, a Chinese ethnic plucked instrument, supported by the western strings at the background. This is a typical example of how music can locate a geographical location. The plot is about the leader of the gang of robbers, Lo, an local Xian Jiang whose nickname is called ‘Black Cloud’, comes to rob Jen’s troupe in the journey to Xian Jiang, an area of minority ethnic group. After Lo has taken Jen’s comb, Jen chases Lo, endeavoring to get it back. It is Jen’s arrogance and self-centered personality that forced her to do so. When Jen is fighting with Lo, the lively Xian Jiang dancing folk music enters. The fast tempo Xian Jiang dancing tune played by yun not only intensifies the pace of their fighting, but also creates an aura of Xian Jiang territory. The fighting between Lo and Jen, in this sense, is thus romanticized, seemingly to utter to audience that a romantic love story replete with exotic feeling just begins. The exotic feeling of the tune largely relies on the use of Arabic scale, or the Xian Jiang scale, which contains a distinctive feature of augmented second interval. Undoubtedly, the dance rhythm, together with the exotic style melody disperses the exotic, however romantic, aura. Afterward, while Jen stayed in the house of Lo for rest, the low-tone, quasi-murmuring cello stealthily steps in. The cello thematic melody easily reminds audience of the song ‘Love Before Time’, which elicits the endless sorrow of love, since their love of each other is not in the right place, as well as not in the right time. True, the romantic love, however ‘genuine’, is doomed to be a tragedy since Lo and Jen belong to different social status and backgrounds. No matter how deep is their loves, such ‘distance’, social status gap, still cannot be filled. The use of thematic song melody here not only enhances the coherence of the story-line, but also tells the audience that this ‘unequal’ love between Lo and Jen, which is emphasized by the conflicts aroused from Jen’s personal arrogance, as well as her deep longing for liberty, against with a generation of strict moral standard, is destined to be a tragedy, even in the very beginning as they firstly met.
From the above analysis, it is clear that music written for film is not merely an accompaniment to the film, just for the purpose of bringing a nice melody for audience. On the contrary, music sounded behind each moving images requires composers' unlimited imaginations and ingenuity, adding immeasurable artistic value to the film. This value inextricably links to music's own expressive power. New meaning of each scene is generated because of this expressive power. Therefore, film alone cannot exists as a form of art without music. As a form of elite art, just like the traditional classical art music, film music can be regarded as an individual genre worthy of further scholarship in the advance academic horizon.
David Leung (theorydavid)