Layers of Virtuosity: Guitar Performance in Walter Hill’s Crossroads (1986)

Murray, Samuel ORCID logoORCID: (2022) Layers of Virtuosity: Guitar Performance in Walter Hill’s Crossroads (1986). In: The Biennial Baltic Musicological Conference Music and Visual Culture: Score, Stage & Screen, 6-8 October 2022, Vilnius, Lithuania. (Unpublished)

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Abstract / Summary

The way virtuosity is represented and communicated within the field of rock and metal guitar has been explored by several authors (see Walser 1993, Waksman 2003, Custodis 2011, Tuttlle 2013 and Turner 2015). This paper builds on these ideas by examining the climactic guitar duel from Walter Hill’s 1986 film “Crossroads” through various theoretical lenses in order to draw out and articulate the manner in which both musical and non-musical signifiers of virtuosity and instrumental mastery may be encoded and decoded within a mediatised performance of the guitar solo on film.
The paper proposes that these signifiers of virtuosity are read at multiple levels by the audience in relation to their respective knowledge of guitar technique and musical repertoire. It is argued that the guitar solos performed in the film’s climax and their framing within in the film were composed and designed specifically as vehicles to communicate to the audience varied and wide-reaching notions of guitar virtuosity and musical genius.
These insights into how virtuosic music performance is presented on film and its interpretation by the viewer can also be expanded outwards to provide a broader understanding of how virtuosity is encoded and decoded within 1980s rock and metal guitar.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Film & TV
Film & TV > Film > Hollywood Film
Music > Instrumental
Music > Musical Performance
Music > Popular Music
Courses by Department: Academy of Music & Theatre Arts > Music
Depositing User: Samuel Murray
Date Deposited: 15 Apr 2024 13:49
Last Modified: 15 Apr 2024 13:49


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