Unsettling Melodies: a Cognitive Approach to Incongruent Film Music

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Incongruent film music is a soundtrack, either diegetic or nondiegetic, 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.

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Acta Universitatis Sapientiae, Film and Media Studies

The Journal of "Sapientia" Hungarian University of Transylvania

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