Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

The End is Nigh

Music Postfaces and End-Credit Sequences in Contemporary Television Serials

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2014), 8, (2), 195–215.

Abstract

End-credit sequences have received little scholarly attention, and yet since The Sopranos (1997-2006), at least, there has been a concerted effort on the part of certain shows' producers to use this ‘space’ productively. Rather than the same theme returning at the end of each episode, a different audio track/song may be selected (or composed) for each one. Since The Sopranos other serials have followed suit: examples include Mad Men (2007-15), Boardwalk Empire (2010-4), and True Blood (2008-14). Of course, popular songs have been heard during the end-credit sequences of feature films, particularly since the 1980s, for reasons of cross-promotion and economics. And certainly, on the one hand, the curation of popular songs (and other music tracks) over the end-credit sequences of high production-value television serials, particular to each episode, potentially signals a scale of budget for music rights that might be considered cinematic rather than televisual. But televisual seriality offers another reason why this approach is productive. Using The Sopranos as a case study, here I investigate the end-credit sequence of contemporary television serials in the context of this seriality.

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Breaking Bad [TV serial], AMC, USA, 2007-12 Google Scholar

A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA, 1971 Google Scholar

Eastenders [TV serial], BBC1, UK, 1985- Google Scholar

The Graduate, Mike Nichols, USA, 1967 Google Scholar

House of Cards [TV serial], Netflix, USA, 2013-14 Google Scholar

Mad Men [TV serial], AMC, USA, 2007-15 Google Scholar

Northern Exposure [TV serial], CBS, USA, 1990-95 Google Scholar

Six Feet Under [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2001-5 Google Scholar

The Sopranos [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 1999-2007 Google Scholar

True Blood [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2008-14 Google Scholar

The Wire [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2002-8 Google Scholar

Alevi, Souzan (2007) The Music of the Sopranos, documentary available on Season 6 - The Final Episodes, as part of The Sopranos - HBO Complete Season 1-6, Warner Home Video, B002DQUASQ Google Scholar

Anderson, Tim J. (2011) ‘Uneasy Listening: Music, Sound, and Criticizing Camelot in Mad Men’, in Gary Edgerton (ed.), Mad Men: Dream Come True TV, London: I. B. Tauris, pp. 72-85 Mad Men: Dream Come True TV 72 85 Google Scholar

BBC (2012) ‘BBC Agrees to Change "Squeezed" TV Credits’ (6 December 2012) http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-20624980 Google Scholar

BBC (2013) ‘Full Credit Guidance’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/commissioning/tv/production/credit-guidelines.shtml Google Scholar

Burkhart, Charles (2005) ‘The Phrase Rhythm (and Willful Slurs) of Chopin's A-flat Major Mazurka, Op. 59, No. 2’, in Deborah Stein (ed.), Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis, New York: Oxford University Press, pp. 3-12 Engaging Music: Essays in Music Analysis 3 12 Google Scholar

Channel 4 (2013) ‘A Guide to Creating End Credits for a Channel 4 Programme’, which can be downloaded from http://www.channel4.com/info/commissioning/production-information/programme-management Google Scholar

Chase, David (2008-9) ‘Interview’, with Karen Herman, Archive of American Television http://www.emmytvlegends.org/interviews/people/david-chase# Google Scholar

Chion, Michel (1994) Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen, ed. and trans. Claudia Gorbman, foreword Walter Murch, New York: Columbia University Press Audio-Vision: Sound on Screen Google Scholar

Davison, Annette (2013) ‘The Show Starts Here: Viewers' Interactions with Recent Television Serials' Main Title Sequences’, Sound Effects: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience, 3:1-2: 6-22, http://www.soundeffects.dk/article/view/15633 http://www.soundeffects.dk/article/view/15633 ‘The Show Starts Here: Viewers' Interactions with Recent Television Serials' Main Title Sequences’ Sound Effects: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Sound and Sound Experience 3 6 22 Google Scholar

Davison, Annette (2014) ‘Viewing Practices in Relation to Contemporary Television Serial End Credit Sequences’, available via DataShare, University of Edinburgh http://datashare.is.ed.ac.uk/bitstream/handle/10283/625/ViewingPractices_FocusGroupsReport.pdf?sequence=4&isAllowed=y Google Scholar

Droney, Maureen (2001) ‘Lots of Music, No Composer’ (interview with Kathryn Dayak), Mix (1 April), http://www.mixonline.com/mag/audio_lots_music_no/, accessed 5 September 2014 http://www.mixonline.com/mag/audio_lots_music_no/ ‘Lots of Music, No Composer’ (interview with Kathryn Dayak) Mix Google Scholar

Dunleavy, Trisha (2009) Television Drama: Form, Agency, Innovation, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan Television Drama: Form, Agency, Innovation Google Scholar

Equity (2012) ‘Credit Where It's Due: What Viewers Think About TV Credits. An Equity Survey’ http://www.equity.org.uk/documents/credit-where-its-due/ Google Scholar

Frith, Simon (1984) ‘Mood Music: An Inquiry into Narrative Film’, Screen, 25:3: 78-88 ‘Mood Music: An Inquiry into Narrative Film’ Screen 25 78 88 Google Scholar

Genette, Gérard (1997) Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation, trans. Jane E. Lewin, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press Paratexts: Thresholds of Interpretation Google Scholar

Greenfield, Rebecca (2012) ‘Inside the Mad Men Economy’, The Wire (26 March), http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2012/03/inside-mad-men-economy/50354/#disqus_thread, accessed 14 March 2013 http://www.thewire.com/entertainment/2012/03/inside-mad-men-economy/50354/#disqus_thread ‘Inside the Mad Men Economy’ The Wire Google Scholar

ITV (2013) ‘End Credit Guidelines’ http://www.itv.com/commissioning/guidelines/producers-guidelines Google Scholar

Johans, Jen (2008) ‘Music Review: Mad Men - Music from the Series, Vol. 1’, Blogcritics, http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-mad-men-music-from/, accessed 12 September 2014 http://blogcritics.org/music/article/music-review-mad-men-music-from/ ‘Music Review: Mad Men - Music from the Series, Vol. 1’ Blogcritics Google Scholar

Kassabian, Aanahid (2001) Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music, London: Routledge Hearing Film: Tracking Identifications in Contemporary Hollywood Film Music Google Scholar

Kinder, Marsha (2008) ‘Re-Wiring Baltimore: The Emotive Power of Systemics, Seriality, and the City’, Film Quarterly, 62:2: 50-57 ‘Re-Wiring Baltimore: The Emotive Power of Systemics, Seriality, and the City’ Film Quarterly 62 50 57 Google Scholar

Laing, Sophie Turner (2013) ‘Credit Where It's Due’ http://www.equity.org.uk/campaigns/credit-where-it-s-due/ Google Scholar

Martin, Brett (2007) The Sopranos: The Complete Book, London: Headline The Sopranos: The Complete Book Google Scholar

Mittell, Jason (2012-13) Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling, pre-publication edition, MediaCommons Press, http://mcpress.media-commons.org/complextelevision/, accessed 5 September 2014 http://mcpress.media-commons.org/complextelevision/ Complex TV: The Poetics of Contemporary Television Storytelling Google Scholar

Peterson, James Braxton (2010) ‘The Depth of the Hole: Intertextuality and Tom Waits's "Way Down in the Hole"’, Criticism, 52:3-4: 461-85 ‘The Depth of the Hole: Intertextuality and Tom Waits's "Way Down in the Hole"’ Criticism 52 461 85 Google Scholar

Sepinwall, Alan (2008) ‘The Wire, Season 1, Episode 13, "Sentencing" (Newbies edition)’ http://www.nj.com/entertainment/tv/index.ssf/2008/08/the_wire_season_1_episode_13_s_1.html Google Scholar

Smith, Jeff (2001) ‘Popular Songs and Comic Allusion in Contemporary Cinema’, in Pamela Robertson Wojcik and Arthur Knight (eds), Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music, Durham, NC: Duke University Press, pp. 407-30 Soundtrack Available: Essays on Film and Popular Music 407 30 Google Scholar

Vermeulen, Thimotheus and Rustad, Gry C. (2013) ‘Watching Television with Jacques Rancière: US "Quality Television", Mad Men and the "Late Cut"’, Screen, 54:3: 341-54 ‘Watching Television with Jacques Rancière: US "Quality Television", Mad Men and the "Late Cut"’ Screen 54 341 54 Google Scholar

Wells, Charlie (2012) ‘Mad Men Is Set in the '60s, So Why Does It Use Music from Today?’, The Atlantic (8 June), http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/06/mad-men-is-set-in-the-60s-so-why-does-it-use-music-from-today/258222/, accessed 17 March 2014 http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2012/06/mad-men-is-set-in-the-60s-so-why-does-it-use-music-from-today/258222/ ‘Mad Men Is Set in the '60s, So Why Does It Use Music from Today?’ The Atlantic Google Scholar

Breaking Bad [TV serial], AMC, USA, 2007-12 Google Scholar

A Clockwork Orange, Stanley Kubrick, UK/USA, 1971 Google Scholar

Eastenders [TV serial], BBC1, UK, 1985- Google Scholar

The Graduate, Mike Nichols, USA, 1967 Google Scholar

House of Cards [TV serial], Netflix, USA, 2013-14 Google Scholar

Mad Men [TV serial], AMC, USA, 2007-15 Google Scholar

Northern Exposure [TV serial], CBS, USA, 1990-95 Google Scholar

Six Feet Under [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2001-5 Google Scholar

The Sopranos [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 1999-2007 Google Scholar

True Blood [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2008-14 Google Scholar

The Wire [TV serial], Home Box Office, USA, 2002-8 Google Scholar

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Davison, Annette