Music Video Form & Conventions

By analysing these videos, I learned a considerable amount about the relationship between song content and narrative content, but also the narrative conventions.

Firstly, a music video could be illustrative, when the narrative in the video very closely echoes the lyrical content of the song. Secondly, it could be amplified, where the narrative whilst inspired by the song adds a narrative element to complement the themes and subject matter of the song. Or thirdly, disjunct, where the narrative seems to hold very little relationship to the song and is quite arbitrary or random.

There is a performance / narrative scale, describing the ratio between the level of narrative content and performance content in a video:

A performance video is going to be exclusively performance, and the performance in these videos will be given special treatment – they may be performing in an unusual place, have stunning visual effects, be a comic or spectacle performance, this is all done to excite the performance as there is no or little narrative.

A combination video will be a mixture of performance and narrative and can include, the performance and narrative being completely separate, the star/band observes the action as an invisible narrator or the performer could have an active role in the narrative.

A narrative video will have little or no performance, which is quite unusual given music videos nature as an advert for the performers. They may often tell a socially important story (giving a voice to the voiceless), also they may use a complex narrative structure, and may use inter-textual references from films or other stories.

This has given me some alternative ideas on the performance/narrative ratio, and how to illustrate the storyline by incorporating singing into it.


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