The 22nd Annual Society for Animation Studies Conference

Aimée Mollaghan

The Role of the Minimalist Musical Aesthetic in the Line Films of Norman McLaren

e role of music in visual music films has, in general, been neglected when analysing visual music textually and if discussed it has been examined predominantly from the academic vantage points of art and avant-garde film theory. To adequately scrutinise these texts I feel it is essential to look at them not only in terms of their existence as ‘moving pictures’ but that equal weight be accorded to their aural aspect and that they should be considered in terms of specifically musical parameters. This paper will examine Norman McLaren’s three Line films Lines Vertical (1960), Lines Horizontal (1962) and Lines Vertical (1965) from a musical perspective. McLaren claimed that the structure of these films was influenced by the structure of Eastern music and therefore I would posit that the orchestration of McLaren’s minimalist images has a parallel in American minimalist music of the 1960s.

Biographical statement: Aimée Mollaghan is currently researching a PhD on the subject of the visual music film in the Department of Theatre, Film and Television Studies in Glasgow University. She has a BA in Film and Video from University of Wales, Newport/IFSW and an MPhil in 2D/3D Motion Graphics from Glasgow School of Art. This paper fits into her wider interest in the role of sound in experimental film and animation. She has directed short films and documentaries and worked as a freelance sound recordist and animator.