Professor to Present at Music and the Moving Image Conference

David Clem, assistant professor of music history at Houghton College, will present at New York University’s Steinhardt School for their annual Music and the Moving Image conference.

Clem’s research paper, entitled Two Dance Scenes and a Wedding: Gender, Genre, and Music in Excalibur, looks at the use of music in the 1981 historical fantasy film Excalibur, directed by John Boorman. Clem examines the film through the auteurist approach, which proposes the director as the “author” of a film.

music and the moving image conference

David Clem, assistant professor of music history at Houghton College

“The auterist approach fits particularly well with certain film-makers, like Boorman, who exercise a large degree of control over multiple parts of the film-making process,” says Clem. His research focuses on how the film’s score (composed by Trevor Jones) informs Boorman’s vision for the story.

Within the paper, Clem treats three specific scenes from the film: Igrayne’s Dance, Guenevere’s Dance, and the wedding of Arthur and Guenevere. Clem examines how Jones’ score “complicates the way these scenes fit into identifiable tropes of movies set in the Middle Ages,” particularly as this relates to the portrayal of traditional gender roles.

Presenting at Music and the Moving Image

Clem has presented at the Music and the Moving Image conference many times over the years. He describes it as “a friendly environment that [fosters] open discussions about a broad range of topics related to music and moving images”—topics including film, television, video games, and YouTube content. He enjoys the opportunity to network with fellow scholars and industry professionals, and to learn what kind of research others are doing in his field.

The Music and the Moving Image conference runs from May 31 to June 2. Clem will present his research on Saturday, June 1, during one of the conference’s evening sessions.

Houghton College is a liberal arts institution that challenges students to academic excellence – in the context of a relevant Christian community – and empowers them to enrich the world. The college of 1,000 students is located in Western New York, just 65 miles from Rochester and Buffalo.