New PhD Course: Music, Cinema, Vulnerability

In the coming spring term, in February and March, Dr Anyssa Neumann will be giving a PhD course titled Music, Cinema, Vulnerability.

Course description

From the earliest days of cinema, music has been an integral part of the audiovisual complex, contributing to the creation of meaning and functioning on a variety of levels: technological, narrative, emotional, interpretative. Until recently, however, the visual dimension of film has dominated cinema studies, relegating music and sound to the background. In this course, we will study what happens when music is foregrounded in film, when music’s sounds, instruments, technologies, listeners, performers, and histories are narratively emphasized. We will employ audiovisual analyses and thematic approaches to the material, discovering how music is listened to, performed, and engaged with onscreen. We will also explore the ever-shifting dynamics of power and vulnerability at the intersection of music with gender, disability, pedagogy, violence, urban spaces, memory, and culture. The course will focus mainly on Western classical music in Anglo-American and European cinema, but there will be opportunity to engage with soundtrack scores and other musical genres, including pop and jazz, as well.

No specialist background in music or film is required for this course; basic terminology and analytic techniques will be introduced in the first session and built on over the subsequent weeks.

Cinematic content

This course will cover selected films from various genres, including drama, comedy, thriller, action, horror, biopic, and art film, from the 1930s to the present. Some we will watch in their entirety; others will be included for specific scenes. Directors include (but are not limited to): Ingmar Bergman, Michael Haneke, Preston Sturges, Eugenio Mira, Christopher McQuarrie, Chris Kraus, Compton Bennett, Bernard Rose, René Clair, Clovis Cornillac, and Herk Harvey.


This course has two components, seminars and film screenings, both of which will be held in person at Uppsala University (subject to change depending on future Covid restrictions). 

The weekly format will be as follows:
seminar (2 hours)
break (1 hour)
film screening (2 hours)

Days and time TBC.


Besides active participation in the seminars and attendance at the screenings, students will be expected to deliverthe following:

1.   Weekly short written responses.

2.   A scripted, multimedia presentation in the format of a conference paper.

Taking part

If you would like to participate in this course, please contact Mats Hyvönen: