The Role of Music in Casablanca

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Casablanca: A Timeless Love Triangle

Casablanca is one famous movie shot in the year 1942. The movie mainly brings out the storyline of an American expatriate who is forced to choose between the love he has for a woman and helping the woman's husband who is a Czech Resistance leader who has escaped from Casablanca so that he can carry on with his resistance. Being a story of an entangled love triangle, there is indeed a lot of expectations to be met. Filled with a lot of twists and turns, the producer of the movie was able to try and combine the situations so that the entire movie would be able to highlight the real plight of love that involves the two altering situations. Being quite an emotional and breathtaking film, the producer had to make sure that the audience would get the real essence of the story as a whole. In order to do this, they had to incorporate a number of action-packed features in the movie.

The Role of Music in Casablanca

At the time of the shooting, technology was still not at its peak and the establishment of the films we have today was still far off. However, they were also able to overcome these odds and come up with an award-winning film. For them to get to this point, they had to make sure that whenever they were shooting, the audience had to be kept in mind. Therefore, they did make good use of music so that they could be able to relate to the emotion at hand. The music put into use in the movie is what we are going to focus on majorly in this article, majorly because they clearly bring out the nitty details of the film.

Expressing Emotion Through Music

Music has for a long time been used to express emotion. In the movie Casablanca, the case is the same. In the introduction of the movie, the Warner Bros soundtrack introduces us to the film. In the movie, while trying to paint the real mood to be depicted, the producers and actors also had to incorporate some other songs to make the expression clearer. Looking at the time the film was produced, the name Max Steiner was quite a household name at that time. A glance at his creativity in the films created at the time to bring out the mood, one clearly captures the twists and turns of the film and how he was able to creatively bring out an important aspect at a particular place in the entire film.

The Art of Musical Composition

According to his notion and work, as seen, most of the work incorporated with music usually meant to highlight a major factor of the film itself. This included the emotion being portrayed or even the cultural aspect that was being brought out. It is because of this creative nature that Casablanca, another production of Max Steiner, has also been highlighted. In the film, the use of new music and already composed tunes specific to particular narrative poses has been majorly brought out. In fact, looking at how perfect the music instances have been made to blend to the narrative, one is easily able to get the deep enjoyment of the film.

Key Music Moments in Casablanca

The song "As Time Goes By" used in a number of films and sung by Dooley Wilson has also featured in Casablanca. Most of the music brought out in the soundtrack has always been in circulation between films, and even to the radios. This song was actually sung in the film by the cast, Sam. However, it is not only Sam who sings in the entire film. The "Knock on Wood" is the other song sung in the film. This song is sung with an intention to reply to Sam's initial song. Actually, in the film, it is as though they reply to Sam who keeps asking on who is knocking and the singers, the people at Rick's, reply that it is them. This kind of communication brings out the essence of space that most people appreciate. Knocking actually highlights this notion. In the film, there is also that feeling of the unreachable or distant things in the past. While Rick recalls his distant time in Paris while in a café, the door opens and in comes Ilsa who then waits. The Casablanca chord 2, the sinking chromatic scale, then comes in which makes the audience have a sunken feeling. This brings the transition between the flashbacks by Rick and the current meeting between him and Ilsa. This actual scene is accompanied by a lot of musical sounds perfectly directed by Max Steiner.

The Power of Music in Storytelling

The plot of the story builds from their first meeting to the point where they even get to engage in a conversation. Even though the first instances of the same seemed so sarcastic, the bond gets stronger until it is clear that the two develop feelings for each other. Through the plot, the lady clearly cares about her husband but is torn between the two. At some point, the plot turns to a point where Ilsa is seen to be unfaithful. At this post during the argument, music is also brought in majorly to highlight the surrounding mood. High bass instruments are seen when the conversation heats up more bitterly. It worsens to a point where she runs out crying bitterly. Here, the producer makes use of a sinking chord. The mood at this point is quite somber with a lot of hurt feelings in the atmosphere.

"As Time Goes By" has still been used here to show the bitter dialogue between the two lovers. It is at this point that the love myriad ensues between the two. Ilsa while trying to show how much her love is for Victor gets a backup from Marseille by Laszlo which highlights that Ilsa's life has been tangled with Victor and she cannot get over him at any cost. In the film, to bring out the religious part, when Rick is speaking and Ilsa's image shown to the audience, music is also used where here, the pitch is quite low. When showing Rick's side of embroidered change, a little bit of bass is enhanced to show the masculinity and heroic nature. According to Max, using these specific music types did actually show the entire storyline where Rick lost something precious once then Ilsa comes back to his life again and at the end, she still leaves him once more.

The Impact of Music in Casablanca

Looking at the way Max has made the various instances in the film sound convincible through the use of music and sounds, it is very much creative. From the various instances highlighted, a lot of the intended message can be easily brought out where the audiences are almost able to get into the movie and take part in it wholly. Such creative and brilliant minds in the film industry are what build the anticipation of the audience. Through making use of these arts of entertainment, Max was able to come out and make his intended communication clear. With the ability of music to speak volumes, most of it has been brought out through the film and how music has played key roles from place to place. In fact, music has also been able to express the character's nature more clearly than the act itself.

Work Cited

Casablanca: Michael Curtiz’s 1942 film is a classic love story- with excellent hats. The Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-08-17

Robertson, James C. The Casablanca Man: The Cinema of Michael Curtiz. London: Routledge. 1993. P.79.

Roger, E. Casablanca (1942). Chicago Sun-Times. Archived from the original on February 28, 2010. Retrieved March 18, 2010.

October 05, 2023

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