Jonny Greenwood Scores the Western: Music as Generic Subversion in There Will Be Blood
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Of all film scores composed by popular musicians, Jonny Greenwood’s score for Paul Thomas Anderson’s western drama, There Will Be Blood (2007), is one of the most counter-intuitive and significant. Greenwood draws on his experience as both the guitarist of the monumentally successful rock group, Radiohead, and as a successful contemporary classical composer to create an iconic and genre-defying score. In tracing recurring musical traits through Greenwood’s three career streams (Radiohead, classical composition, and film scoring), I outline a musical identity in Greenwood’s works that is genre-bending and entirely idiosyncratic. Furthermore, through contextual and musical analysis of Greenwood’s pre-existing and original music used in the film, as well as music by other composers including Arvo Pärt and Johannes Brahms, I highlight the indispensable role of the film’s score in creating generic subversions in There Will Be Blood.