So this is a film that confused most of us :) Is there someone who didn’t google the film when it is over ? The music is essential for fully comprehend it, and I will try to examine it spontaneously as I write.
The Black Monolith first introduced in the before-human ages, with a leitmotif (a recurring theme that is associated with particular moment, subject or person) of Ligeti’s ‘’Kyrie’’ from ‘’Requiem’’. Why this sound is particularly chosen ? Kubrick didn’t choose the piece just for trying to find a irritating sound, he wouldn’t do that. How can I know ? Because he used Ligeti in many of his films like Eyes Wide Shut, The Shining etc. Especially in ‘’The Shining’’ most of the sound that you think it is produced with computers just for ‘’scaring’’ purposes are actually classical music, composed by Ligeti and Penderecki. Returning to the monolith leitmotif, it has an ancient feeling, but actually it is very very modern. Actually, it is a sound from future. Ancient music doesn’t have any dissonance, modern music does. Leitmotif linked the past to the future. It is future made, but has an old feeling. With this referral, now I can linked the monolith to the time travel.
After this hint of modernism, we are now in space, a very civilised, modernised time. However, I know that this is not the time monolith is came. Because I hear a lovely waltz of J. Strauss’s ‘’The Blue Danube’’ in the background. I know that this is a beautiful melody, and classical music will get more and more modernised with less and less listening and appreciation. The leitmotif of monolift is not from here. I remember myself watching the dance of the space stations accompanied by beautiful music with a great caution, without losing myself to enjoyment of this space clip. I think there is a little tension here, for me anyway. We are in the space, the unknown and the music is so familiar, I know the steps, I memorise the melody so quickly, it is so much human.
The film opens with R. Stauss’s Also Sprach Zarathustra accompanied by Sun, Earth and Moon sequence. Also Sprach Zarathustra is a tone poem (composed specifically for a literature valued text), and the first part is titled ‘’Sunrise’’. The piece is inspired by Nietzsche’s same named novel that is about ‘’eternal recurrence of the same’’. Kubrick is a genius. Eternal return is about the recurrence of the energy, existence and universe infinitely. The ‘’sunrise’’ in Also Sprach Zarathustra, also illustrated by Kubrick in the film credits, isn’t sound as a beginning in the score, on the contrary it is like a glorious end of a very long piece. So, the sunrise is not the beginning but maybe the ending. After the opening credits, we hear the piece when the apes learn how to use a tool, basically invent the weapon. We also hear it when Bowman transferred into a Star-Child at the end of the film. So I am inferring that, even though Bowman is passed the Star-gate, see a lot things that no human being has ever seen and transferred into a Star-Child that is send to the World as a next step of the evolution ( apes to men, men to Star-child), nothing is changed actually. If we see the computers as a step in the evolution, who are at that time more superior and shows more emotion (pride etc.) than men in the film, Hal too falls into his emotions and kills team members for survival. In conclusion, we can say that Star-child will also discover weapons and continue to violence and dominance as everything recurs over time. The music also indicates that it is not a beginning of a history, it is the end. It a glorious ending. Monolith continue to try to change us, interrupt our evolution, but each evolution is actually an end since we will soon discover wars again. Honestly, when I finished watching the film, I started to google the meaning out of it and I couldn’t connect the many points people make. Now I analyse the music usage, it is nearly obvious. I can’t wait to go home and watch it again and appreciate it even more!
We hear Aram Khatchaturian’s Adagio movement of Gayane Ballet Suite No: 3 during the first introduction of Jupiter mission. The scene is rather cold. This mission is not something special for the crew, it is ordinary, little dull. Why we have a dramatic music in the background? Now, I am doing an ordinary basic analysis and thinking at the same time. Gayane is a ballet whose subject is a young Armenian woman whose patriotic convictions conflict with her personal feelings on discovering her husband's treason. Since we hear the music in the first time we saw Hal, is it the conflict Hal is experiencing between its orders of concealing the mission’s aim and its loyalty to the crew? Am I overanalysing :)
I really enjoyed this analysis and now I can worship Kubrick for not using the ordered scores of Alex North. Kubrick said that ‘’ However good our best film composers may be, they are not a Beethoven, a Mozart or a Brahms. Why use music which is less good when there is such a multitude of great orchestral music available from the past and from our own time?’’. I totally agree with him. Even if the music is really good, it doesn’t have a history to add to the scene. God bless you Kubrick :)