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Volume 2, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1751-4193
  • E-ISSN: 1751-4207


The exploration of chance as part of the creative process emerged as an increasingly important element in art practice during the twentieth century. It can be regarded as one of many approaches by which the avant-garde expressed its desire to create new forms in opposition to the aesthetic and conceptual values of the past. Film was not immune to this interest in chance procedures. This article focuses on notions of chance in the context of exploring the relationship between film image and music. More specifically, I discuss Jean Cocteau's method of accidental synchronisation and Harry Smith's notion of automatic synchronisation, distinctive approaches to the use of music with film predicated on chance procedures. These methods can be viewed in terms of a longer history of experiments with sound, images and colour, that is, as precursors of the light-shows and multi-media events of the 1960s and other more contemporary media forms. Cocteau and Smith's experiments open up important questions about the processes by which audiences perceive and make sense of music in relation to film.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): automatism; chance; film music; Harry Smith; Jean Cocteau; serendipity
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