Working with a musical motif 01: Nino Rota

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A beautiful melody is neither created nor does it exist in a performative social vacuum. Such a motif can take on other meanings and purposes from those for which it was originally conceived. A particular melody may also invoke (potentially) powerful social and cultural resonances that extend well beyond the situational, cultural and social boundaries within which and for which it was originally created. Such an observation is not rocket science, right? We each have melodies (from the past) through which we invoke our own people, time and sense of place. We choose who we invoke, when and where.

Nino Rota’s beautiful motif used in the film score for The Godfather (1972), [and in the earlier Italian film Fortunella (1958) with which film buffs will be familiar] may well have embarked on just such an evocative and symbolic (in the minds of others) journey. In addition to the more obvious notions of a ‘godfather’ as sponsor and protector, could it be that in the turbulent and economic uncertainty of contemporary post-socialist (Outer) Mongolia, this melody is playing an important cohering (of social group) role?

Could it be that this particular melody evokes (in the listeners) notions of a principal shaper or leader, not of crime as in the story of the film for which it was originally composed, but of a post-socialist movement, a particular school of philosophical thought along with the modes of culturally-appropriate artistic expression with which it has long been associated, and with which contemporary Mongolians are now choosing to (re)align?

Given an established cosmopolitan Mongolian predisposition towards integrating traditional and other genres of music into their social ways of doing and being, then surely, drawing on this particular melody from the now burgeoning online repositories of available others also designed for film, a pursuit that during the socialist era in Mongolia (1930s-early 1990s) would have been inconceivable, even prohibited, exemplifies not only inter-cultural artistic expression and modernity, but also, for the Mongolian and other individuals involved, a particular sense of now global social connectedness with which the heart, as well as the mind, is also involved.

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© 2013-2024. CPinMongolia. The text of this post is licensed under a  Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Documents linked from this page may be subject to other restrictions. Posted: 6 January 2014. Last updated: 29 October 2017.