Science Fiction Film & Television

Music of other spheres: Diagonal time and metaphysics in Lost

Science Fiction Film & Television (2010), 3, (2), 253–270.

Abstract

This article investigates the workings of the glissando in Lost's soundtrack. Glissando violins remarkably often accompany the transition to or appearance of different realities in fantasy and science fiction TV. The fact that Lost has made this motif its single opening tune is the result of a rich history of violin glissandos in the genre; particularly The X-Files increasingly deploys this brief musical movement as an underscoring of narrative references to an alternate reality that is as present as it is intangible. Musically the glissando is a forceful destabilisation that takes away all tonal grounding, which certainly contributes to the glissando's alienating connotations in fantasy and sf TV. The motif's philosophical implications, however, reach far beyond the scope of musical deterritorialisation only. In critical dialogue with Martin Heidegger the ontological and metaphysical dimensions of the "other worlds" of Lost and its soundtrack are explored. The notion of "diagonal time" will be introduced to conceptualise the workings of the Lost glissando motif. The series, the soundtrack and the glissando itself seem to share an important characteristic – a question: What Being can exist outside time, within Nothing?

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White, V. Alan. 'Freedom and Worldviews in The X-Files'. The Philosophy of The X-Files. Ed. Dean A. Kowalski. Lexington: The University Press of Kentucky, 2007. 37–54. Google Scholar

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van Elferen, Isabella