Unsettling Melodies: A Cognitive Approach to Incongruent Film Music

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    Incongruent film music is a soundtrack, either diegetic or non- diegetic, which expresses qualities that stand in contrast to the emotions evoked by the events seen. The present article aims at covering two interconnected areas; the first is comprised of a critical recapitulation of available theoretical accounts of incongruent film music, whilst the second part of the paper offers an alternative, embodied-cognitive explanation of the audio-visual conflict which arises from this particular type of incongruence. Rather than regarding it as a phenomenon that works through disrupting conventions, we stress a perceptual-cognitive reason behind incongruence’s emotional strangeness.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)169-183
    Number of pages15
    JournalActa Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2013


    • film music
    • affective congruence
    • polarization
    • incongruence
    • cognitive-ecological theory

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