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Dissonance and Soundtracking

by Shawn M. Higgins

Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines "dissonance" as something "not in agreement with something" else. Musically, this means "not in harmony." One way music can become inharmonious is by pairing it with images that do not accompany each other in a normal or acceptable way. This clip from "Good Morning Vietnam" showcases the cinematic effect dissonance can have when a song like Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" is paired with scenes depicting the Vietnam War.

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"What a Wonderful World" as Vietnam War Soundtrack

In this scene from Barry Levinson's "Good Morning Vietnam" (1987, starring Robin Williams), Army radio disc jockey Adrian Cronauer plays Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" for the listening troops.

from Good Morning Vietnam (1987)
Creator: Barry Levinson
Distributor: Walt Disney / Buena Vista
Posted by Shawn M. Higgins