Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Narrative & Performance


The style of the music video is one of the codes and conventions of music videos. The style includes things such as the performance of the artist and the narrative in the music video.

A narrative music video follows a storyline. There are two types of narrative, which are called linear and fragmented. A linear narrative has a beginning, a middle and an end, and these components are presented in that order, as with fairy tales. Whereas a fragmented narrative, however, might have a beginning, a middle and an end, but the components are mixed together. This means, that the narrative might start in the middle of the story, transition back to the beginning of the tale and then flash forward to the end. 

Todorov would explain that in the linear narrative there are around 5 stages:
  1. state of equilibrium - where everything is as it should be
  2. disruption of the equilibrium through an event in the film
  3. recognition by the characters that there has been a disruption
  4. An attempt to repair the disruption
  5. reinstatement of the equilibrium
When describing the narrative aspect, Vernallis suggests that the music video is a visual response to the narrative. She explains that the things that happen on screen reflect the choice of lyrics that the artist is singing. However, Vernallis also says that the narrative might not always be complete and can appear in fragments in the music video (fragmented narrative).

A great example for an artist that has created music videos with both narratives is Katy Perry. In her music video for the song Last Friday Night, the narrative starts at the end of the story, transitions back to the beginning of the story and then plays through to the end. This indicates a fragmented narrative

An example from Katy Perry for a linear narrative is her music video for Thinking of You, which tells the story from the beginning to the end, like a fairytale. 

A music video that focuses on performance, is where the focus is mainly on the artist performing in the video. A great example for performance is Beyoncé's music video for Love on Top and Single Ladies. In the two videos the artist is continuously performing the song and there is no narrative or other scenes in the video. This type of music video that only focuses on the performance is quite uncommon, due to the fact that the audience won't be able to engage with the song and the music video or relate themselves to the story/narrative that takes place. However, this type of music video, usually contains a dance routine, that the audience is then able to learn, which is a factor that makes an audience watch a music video again and again.


  1. Great to see the blog so advanced already. Some things to consider:
    always tag - to boost hits and make it easier for you to find material for Eval AND as evidence of use of tech
    where you can, add a specific theorist or named theory when you're exploring theory; this helps with exam prep
    make sure you acknowledge your sources: where did you read about narrative forms?
    you're providing eg's for your points - great, but consider also using Vines (v short video clips) to help even more directly demo your point (+ again, use of tech shown)
    the featured post tool can be a bit messy, but could be used to highlight the range of (a) videos [a huge cumulative YT playlist embedded that will update as you add to it] (b) written sources (c) other audio-visual sources you've used. Blogger also allows linked pages to be created. Not vital, but could be useful - and interesting to look back in when you're finished (plus - 'use of techs'!)
    this post doesn't necessarily need it, but a very brief top summary once you've completed a post can be useful - to you as much as to an audience

  2. You can develop this even by simply using AS terms: Todorov etc - but could also try to apply some more exam terms too. Vernallis is v v relevant...


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