Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon

Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon

by Kendra Preston Leonard
     
 

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When writer and director Joss Whedon created the character Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he could hardly have expected the resulting academic interest in his work. Yet almost six years after the end of Buffy on television, Buffy studies—and academic work on Whedon's expanding oeuvre—continue to grow. Now with three hugely popular television shows, Buffy the…  See more details below

Overview

When writer and director Joss Whedon created the character Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he could hardly have expected the resulting academic interest in his work. Yet almost six years after the end of Buffy on television, Buffy studies—and academic work on Whedon's expanding oeuvre—continue to grow. Now with three hugely popular television shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, and the film Serenity all available on DVD, scholars are evaluating countless aspects of the Whedon universe (or "Whedonverse"). Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing: Music in the Worlds of Joss Whedon studies the significant role that music plays in these works, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer to the internet musical Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog.

Kendra Preston Leonard has collected a varying selection of essays that explore music and sound in Joss Whedon's works. The essays investigate both diegetic and non-diegetic music, considering music from various sources, including the shows' original scores, music performed by the characters themselves, and music contributed by such artists as Michelle Branch, The Sex Pistols, and Sarah McLachlan, as well as classical composers like Camille Saint-Saëns and Johannes Brahms.

The approaches incorporate historical and theoretical musicology, feminist and queer musicology, media studies, cultural history, and interdisciplinary readings. The book also explores the compositions written by Whedon himself: the theme music for Firefly, and two fully integrated musicals, the Buffy episode "Once More, With Feeling" and Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog. With several musical examples, a table with a full breakdown of the Danse Macabre scene from the acclaimed Buffy episode "Hush," and an index, this volume will be fascinating to students and scholars of science-fiction, television, film, and popular culture.

Editorial Reviews

Booklist
Anyone familiar with the cult television favorites created by writer Joss Whedon knows how important music is in his shows. The essays in this collection focus entirely on the music in Whedon’s television shows and web musical, analyzing the way music complements and enhances the narrative. Jacqueline Bach traces out various musical arcs over the course of Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s run, such as the way the music of Sarah McLachlan is used to reflect Buffy’s complex feelings about her friends and her relation to them in several pivotal instances. Elizabeth A. Clendinning’s chapter centers on the vampire Spike, revealing how, even though he was first introduced as a villain in Buffy, Spike’s musical knowledge and references link him much more closely with humanity than the other nemeses on the show. Stanley C. Pelkey’s essay explores the music of Whedon’s futuristic space western Firefly, which blends exotic Asian music with folk-country music meant to represent the characters’ personalities and stations in life. For the many fans devoted to Whedon’s work, this will be an enlightening read.
American Music
Buffy, Ballads, and Bad Guys Who Sing makes a fine contribution to the still-young field of TV music scholarship.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810869455
Publisher:
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
11/16/2010
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
330
Product dimensions:
6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Kendra Preston Leonard is the author of The Conservatoire Américain: A History (Scarecrow Press, 2007) and Shakespeare, Madness, and Music: Scoring Insanity in Cinematic Adaptations (Scarecrow Press, 2009).

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