This article analyses the narrative, structural, and semiotic functions of arguably one of the most remarkable pieces in the recent history of Spanish film music: the eight-minute string quartet piece written by Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias for Amante menguante, the brief silent film included in the central part of Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her. The aim of the study is to show how music helps to articulate the complex narrative structure, how it expresses the affective content of the film narrative and emulates (or compensates for the lack thereof) the sounds and the characters’ speech absent in the silent film. The focus of the study is on (1) Iglesias’s employ of a number of centuries-old musical topoi for musically expressing extramusical meanings, ideas, and emotions evoked in the film; (2) his practice of a hyper-descriptive, often onomatopoeic, musical illustration of a series of gestures, actions, objects, and “sounds” shown in the silent film; and (3) the echoing of the film’s emotional content by means of musical allusions and quotations of materials from Henry Purcell’s “O, Let Me Weep” (from The Fairy Queen), Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht and String Quartet, op. 10, and Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings.


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pp. 92-116
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