Harry Potter Content Analysis

Objective: Content analysis is the study of social artifacts (human creations such as
books, laws, art, media). The goal of this activity is to practice conducting a basic
content analysis, including coding data and interpreting the results (assign each
occurrence a code, count occurrences of coded units, report the results and patterns).
In this activity you will conduct a content analysis on a scene from a Harry Potter film.
Directions:

  1. Read through the general description provided below.
  2. Read through the specific description provided below for each music type.
    Make sure to listen to the sample of the theme music so you are able to
    recognize that music type.
  3. Watch the movie clip using this YouTube link (the link is also provided in the
    coding sheet below). Use the coding sheet to code each segment by circling
    one music type for each event in the film scene. *Note: Pay attention to the
    music being played during each event. To be clear when an event
    begins/ends, pay attention to the time stamps provided. When coding each
    event ask yourself, “Am I hearing the theme, music that fits the actions on the
    screen, or quiet music?” and circle the appropriate music type on the coding
    sheet.
  4. Once you finish coding the events listed on the coding sheet, report the
    results by counting the total number of times each music type was assigned
    as a code to an event. Report the total number for each music type in the
    results table (Table 1) below.
  5. Once you finish reporting and listing the total counts for each music type in
    Table 1, interpret the results by answers each of the discussion questions
    below. In the process of answering each discussion question, you will draw
    conclusions from the data.
    Description:
    Music can play an important role in supporting the visual storytelling in a movie,
    but film music is often consumed almost subconsciously. Content analysis is an
    excellent tool to uncover the messages of such music. John Williams is an
    accomplished, award-winning Hollywood composer responsible for the music in the first
    three Harry Potter films. His success, in part, stems from the music rules he uses to aid
    in a film’s storytelling. Among other techniques used in the Harry Potter films, Williams
    regularly employs (1) visual-matching music (music that closely mirrors and therefore
    emphasizes movements on the screen), (2) dialogue rules (music is either mute or soft
    during character script lines to make them audible), (3) leitmotifs (musically reoccurring
    themes usually attached to a certain character or idea), and (4) music rule breaking
    (breaching a previously established music rule, such as those mentioned above, so as
    to emphasize another rule). In this activity, you will treat the first three techniques as
    coding categories for the variable music type in order to discern when and why the
    fourth technique (rule breaking), occurs. The research question you are examining is:
    How do music rules aid storytelling during the opening scene of Harry Potter & the
    Sorcerer’s Stone?
    The coding sheet below lists labels representing the 10 segments (i.e., events) in the
    first scene of the film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Horizontally displayed next
    to each segment are three music types: theme, fits, and quiet.
    Theme. Theme on the coding sheet is what Williams calls “Hedwig’s Theme” and
    is the main theme of all of the Harry Potter films. Listen to Hedwig’s Theme here
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wtHra9tFISY) to familiarize yourself with
    what the music type theme sounds like. This represents the technique Williams
    refers to as leitmotifs (i.e., musically reoccurring themes usually attached to a
    certain character or idea).
    Fits. At times, music will fit the action on the screen. This is labeled as fits on the
    coding sheet. This represents the technique Williams refers to as visual-matching
    music (i.e., music that closely mirrors and therefore emphasizes movements on
    the screen).
    Quiet. At times, music will be low in volume. This reflects Williams’ technique on
    dialogue rules (i.e., music is either mute or soft during character script lines to
    make them audible). This is labeled as quiet on the coding sheet.
    Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone Coding Sheet [2 pts total]
    Scene One
    (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-z8kWZffYw)
    EVENT MUSIC TYPE (Circle One Per Number)
  6. Opening (00:00 to 00:15) Theme Fits Quiet
  7. Scene Setting (00:16 to 00:35) Theme Fits Quiet
  8. Dumbledore Walking (00:36 to 00:51) Theme Fits Quiet
  9. Snatching Lamplights (00:52 to 01:18) Theme Fits Quiet
  10. Dialogue 1 (01:19 to 01:26) Theme Fits Quiet
  11. Cat Shape-Shifts (01:27 to 01:37) Theme Fits Quiet
  12. Dialogue 2 (01:38 to 02:03) Theme Fits Quiet
  13. Flying Motorcycle (02:04 to 02:23) Theme Fits Quiet
  14. Dialogue 3 (02:24 to 02:43) Theme Fits Quiet
  15. Dialogue 4 + Carrying Baby (02:44 to 04:04) Theme Fits Quiet
    Reporting & Interpreting the Results [8 pts total]
    Table 1 [2 pts]
    Table 1.Total count of each music type.
    Music Type Count
  16. Theme
  17. Fits
  18. Quiet
    Discussion Questions
  19. In general, what was the most frequently occurring music type? [1 pt]
  20. In what types of events does John Williams use music that “fits” the scene? Why? [2
    pts]
  21. In what types of events does John Williams use “quiet” music? Why? [2 pts]
  22. In what types of events does John Williams use the “theme”? [1 pt]

Sample Solution

ACED ESSAYS