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Modernist SoundscapesAuditory Technology and the Novel$
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Angela Frattarola

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780813056074

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: May 2019

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813056074.001.0001

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Music and the Prosody of Voice

Music and the Prosody of Voice

Dorothy Richardson and the Transformation from Silent Film to the Talkie

(p.37) 2 Music and the Prosody of Voice
Modernist Soundscapes

Angela Frattarola

University Press of Florida

Chapter 2 connects Dorothy Richardson’s film column for the magazine Close Up, where she criticizes the talkie for its unnatural speech and argues for the importance of the musical accompaniment of silent film, with her fiction, where she pays explicit attention to the prosody of voice and bonding qualities of music. For Richardson, the musical accompaniment of silent film is essential for connecting a viewer with the film while allowing for private meditation; conversely, the awkward enunciation of the speech of the early talkies ruined the aesthetic experience of film for Richardson. Although film viewing is not represented in Pilgrimage (1915–1967), a multivolume work that follows the life of Miriam Henderson through free indirect discourse and stream of consciousness, Richardson repeatedly uses moments of listening to music to grant her characters a reprieve in their self-conscious inner speech, prompting them to relax and become more receptive to others. Similarly, the musical quality, or prosody, of voice creates intimacy among Richardson’s characters, allowing them to transcend their selfish concerns and connect with one another.

Keywords:   Close Up, Musical accompaniment, Pilgrimage, Free indirect discourse, Stream of consciousness

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