Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Code, David J. “Rehearing The Shining: Musical Undercurrents in the Overlook Hotel.” In Music in the Horror Film: Listening to Fear, ed. Neil Lerner, 133-51. New York: Routledge, 2010.

Scholarship on music in The Shining has largely ignored the semiotic richness of the incorporation of modernist musical works, but the historical subtexts of the pieces contribute to a unique Kubrickian approach to horror that relies on more than purely visceral audience response. By exploring congruencies between music and visual elements, certain symmetries come into focus that allow for a broader reading of music in the “Kubrick universe.” During the maze scene, Bartók’s Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta is a temporal phenomenon and is thus not congruous with the four-dimensional maze. Ligeti’s Lontano is used in two instances to accompany scenes of “shining,” but the third instance of its use deflects this established association. The symmetry between the music of Penderecki and the film extends even to the level of musical notation. Ultimately, one could read The Shining as an allegory of literate culture in the face of post-literate culture, represented in part by the use of modernist graphic scores.

Works: Stanley Kubrick (director) and Wendy Carlos (composer): soundtrack to The Shining (133-51).

Sources: Anonymous: Dies irae (131-32, 135); Bartók: Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta (134, 136-41); Ligeti: Lontano (136, 141-44); Penderecki: The Awakening of Jacob (144-46), Polymorphia (147).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Kate Altizer

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