The presentation of narrative within a music video can be influenced in various ways. These influences include the image the artist wishes to project, the forms of narrative e.
g. disjuncture, reverse, illustrative and non-linear, the audience which is being targeted, the intertexual use of another form of media such as controversies which have arisen within the news about the artist e. g. Lady Gaga possibly being a hermaphrodite was challenged at the beginning Telephone1 in which a prison ward said ‘I told you she didn’t have a dick’.A narrative is formed by people in to make sense of a series of events e.
g. a historical event from how it began to how it ended or through a collection of ‘moral tales’ e. g.
the Aesop’s fables in which a moral is explained through the use of narrative. Non-fiction events are also presented with a narrative structure e. g. a scientific breakthrough. Various theorists and philosophers have tried to explain how narrative works.
Todorov suggests that all narratives begin with an equilibrium in which everything is in a balanced state, followed by a disruption which unbalances everything and then to an equilibrium state in which either the original equilibrium is restored or a new equilibrium is established. However, Claude Levi-Strauss2 observed that we make sense of the world, people and events through binary opposites e. g. good versus evil or peace versus war, which therefore could be a constant ‘disruption’ to the narrative structure which Todorov suggested. All forms of media use a narrative structure e.
g. news reports, radio shows, films, plays etc. However one form of media which doesn’t follow a direct narrative structure is that of music videos. Music videos tend to suggest a story rather than explain a story to the audience.
This is also due to a video is often being ‘cut between a narrative and performance of the song by the band’3 and therefore cannot ’embody complete narrative or convey finely wrought stories’4. It can be said that music videos have their own forms of narrative which the artist creates to convey a message they wish to get across.One of the forms of narrative I am going to analyse is that of reverse narrative. A reverse narrative structure is a method of storytelling in which the plot is told in a reverse order i.
e. starting with the conclusion and then ending at what would be the beginning in a linear narrative. The Scientist5 by Coldplay uses the technique of a reversed narrative combined with the use of an enigma code in which the audience are placed in a position of attempting to work out what has happened to Chris Martin’s character whilst various clues are being revealed whilst he is returning to the scene of the car accident.Although the use of a reverse narrative is effective, the music video only amplifies certain phrases within the lyrics such as ‘take me back to the start’ however the rest of the lyrics are, within the video, ignored or presented in a disjuncture narrative. A disjuncture narrative involves the idea of ignoring the meaning or concept created by the lyrics completely and instead creates an entire new meaning to the song. Lady Gaga’s music video for Telephone6 uses a form of disjuncture narrative as for her video she has set out to confuse her audience, involving a deeper second meaning to the song.
This disjuncture narrative is shown by the way the director and Gaga have carried on a character she portrayed in her previous music video Paparazzi7 where she is playing a role of a mind-controlled slave who was “programmed” to poison and kill her boyfriend within the video for Paparazzi. The setting of the music video also adds to the disjuncture narrative in that each setting of a prison, car and a restaurant can be said to be disconnected from a club setting which the lyrics of the song.