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Comments about the soundtrack for Brokeback Mountain (Gustavo Santaolalla)

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Analysis of the Score (NOT by me)
• Posted by: Angela   <Send E-Mail>
• Date: Tuesday, July 11, 2006, at 1:07 p.m.
• IP Address:

I found this online, it gives a perfect analysis of the music, just blows me away. Anyway I thought people might appreciate it. Um, unless you (A) know the story or (B) saw the film, this might not make any sense.

Ok, maybe this is just me being a nerdy English major who needs to analyze everything; or perhaps it's just me trying to find something positive in the ending, but I have a few ideas on the music of the film.

First: Santaolalla's score consists of one guitar and a pump organ; for the most part, Santaolalla picks the guitar- he does not strum chords; each note lingers before the next note is played; in all songs except one, the guitar are organ harmonize but are not playing the same notes; the guitar is the focus of the songs with the organ softly behind it. I see this symbolizing Jack and Ennis. You have the two men (gutiar=Ennis and organ=Jack); each are alone (picking the individual notes instead of strumming chords); but even when they are apart, they linger in each other's mind (the notes lingering). Although the movie is about both men, Ennis takes the foreground more than Jack (guitar being more prominent in the score). Although the two want to be together physically, they don't allow themselves to be (guitar and organ together harmonizing, but not playing the same music). Until the end: the last song after the closing scene has both the guitar and organ playing the same notes for the first time in the movie. I see it as Ennis finally accepting Jack. It's the first time Ennis allow Jack to be a part of him. It's all in how you interpret the last lines of the movie ("Jack, I swear..") but viewing it this way allows me to believe Ennis confronts everything and gives me hope that he will be ok. Changing direction a little: Jack's death allows him to finally "quit" Ennis; as much as his death pains me, I do see some comfort that Jack no longer has to agonize over Ennis- he is finally free. Again, we hear this in the music: the two instruments finally harmonize and play the same music.

I hope that made sense to anyone who read it. Again, not sure if any of that was Santaolalla's intentions, but it makes me happier to think about it that way.


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