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October 23, 2012 MUS 468I Role of Music in Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times Music can play an important

role in film, from setting the mood to revealing the change of characters. Among playing these two roles, the music in Charlie Chaplin's nearly-silent film Modern Times Mickey Mouses the actions of characters. The viewers' emotions towards characters and scenes are guided by the music. As a comedy film, most of the music is upbeat and cheerful. Even when Chaplin's Tramp character experiences a mental breakdown, a playful tune is played as he runs around the factory wrecking havoc and later chases a woman down the street with the intent of turning the buttons on her bosom with his wrenches. The music helps the viewer get in a happier mood, ready and willing to laugh at whatever mischievous actions the Tramp preforms. There is also a scene in which the Gamine and the Tramp eat breakfast in a makeshift home that is falling apart. However, sweet and loving music with strings is heard and makes the audience feel how in love they are. Of course, sadder is music is played when appropriate. After losing his job, the Tramp wanders the streets and sorrowful music is heard. The sadder music that plays in the background is intended to make the audience sympathize with the characters on screen. Glum music is also played when the Gamine's unemployed father comes home exhausted. This music transitions into a happier tune when the Gamine and her two sisters come up to their father with food and the audience sees the family happily eating close together. The audience gets a sense of danger from the music in other scenes. There is a menacing theme when the Tramp enters prison for the first time. He looks so innocent and helpless that it makes the viewers feel worried about him. There is also a scene, after the Tramp has consumed some cocaine, in which he single-handedly faces three armed robbers. Being in danger and under drug influence, the music is very fast paced and synchronized sound effects are heard as he slams the door on the robbers' heads. Various types of music are played throughout the film to get the audience in the

right mood, from relaxed to saddened to excited. Music in this film also displays the change of the characters. The Gamine and the Tramp share a romantic song. Very similar to it is the noble tune heard when the Tramp is willing to take the blame and get arrested for the girl stealing the loaf of bread from the bakery. This same tune is played after the Tramp, determined to go back to jail, calls a police officer over to witness that he is unable to pay the bill for the two full plates of food he had just consumed. This noble tune develops into the full romance song when the Gamine and Tramp sit on a couple's lawn after escaping from the police car. This same song is heard every time the Tramp is released from jail and is greeted by the waiting Gamine outside the police doors and in the final scene when the Gamine and the Tramp walk into the sunset after running from the police. The Gamine herself has a song that is played whenever she steals. It can be heard both when she is first introduced to the audience, stealing bananas, and stealing a loaf of bread after her father had died, rendering her an orphan. This fast-paced tune is played with strings and wind instruments suggesting agility and keenness. The Tramp also gets a song whenever he gets a job. It is first heard after being released from jail the first time and showing an employer the letter he received from the sheriff. He is given a job and an uplifting, slightly triumphant song is heard. The same one is heard after being granted a job, in the same manner, at a department store. The Tramp and his cellmate share a song that incorporates both their personalities. The song contains strings of lighter notes, which the audience associates with the Tramp, and strings of deeper, menacing notes notes that match the appearance and personality of the Tramp's cellmate. This song is heard whenever the two are bickering, whether they are in the cell fighting for space, or in the dining room fighting over the bread. The deeper notes are also synched with whenever the cellmate exerts his dominance over the Tramp. The music in this film reveals the intentions of the characters as well as their attitude and emotions towards other characters. There exists some Mickey Mousing is shown throughout the film. Two notable examples are the assembly line and conversations. In the film the Tramp character holds various jobs, the

first of which is as an assembly line worker. The music played there is as repetitive as the workers' motions and the speed the music is played at is adjusted as the speed of the line is adjusted. When the line speed up, so does the music. Likewise, when the line stops, so does the music. For the most part, this film is silent. Only his first factory boss and a few other minor characters are given spoken lines. Most conversations between characters have no underscoring. However, some conversations with the Tramp character have a string of notes that mimics the voice the viewer can imagine the character having. Such an example can be seen when the orphan girl praises the Tramp to her employer at the restaurant and then asks him to hire the tramp. As the employer asks the Tramp if he has the skills for the job waiting on tables and singing the girl enthusiastically responds that he can and the tramp slowly follows her lead and, by nodding his head, agrees with her. Throughout this whole conversation the employer is given deep notes that suggest authority and seriousness whilst the orphan is given higher, faster notes suggesting a high pitched voice and the quickness of the notes reinforce the enthusiasm she displays on screen. The Tramp is given a note in between that of the girl's and the restaurant owner and like the nodding of his head, the notes are slow. The music in this film, written by, produced by, starring, and containing newly composed music by Charlie Chaplin, plays so many roles. It sets the mood to shape the viewer's emotions and opinions about the characters on screen. It makes the audience emphasize with the characters when they are going through a difficult time, whether unemployment or death, and it helps put them in a mood for laughter. The music also changes as the characters change. It reveals the type of relationships between characters and hints at their desires. Lastly, it Mickey Mouses actions by the Tramp and conversations. The music in this film adds so much to it that it cannot be viewed in the same manner without it.