¿Moon River and Me¿: The film-song as leitmotiv in Breakfast at Tiffany¿s

Autores UPV
Revista The Soundtrack


This article analyses the efficiency of the leitmotiv derived from the song ¿Moon River¿ in Breakfast at Tiffany¿s. This leitmotiv is a musical element (the first three notes suffice to recognise ¿Moon River¿) with the narrative functions of denotation (signifying a character or idea like Holly¿s yearning) and connotation (emotion, mood, anticipation). The diegetic use of ¿Moon River¿ increases recognition, meaning and pleasure, and binds the theme to the character¿s representation because the song is mood-congruent and well integrated. The collaboration of Blake Edwards and Henry Mancini in this film permits a narrative use of music because the editing and dialogues leave space for the music, the composer takes part in the process from the beginning, the leitmotiv is used sparingly only to denote Holly¿s yearning, and the score uses contrasting themes with a musical logic. Mancini¿s music shows that audiences understand better and connect to the leitmotivs generated from a song congruent with the film, increasing the narrative power of the music and its enjoyment.