Music, Sampling, and Musical Intertextuality in Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained


  • Amaia Ibarraran-Bigalondo



According to both critics and the general public, Quentin Tarantino is probably one of the most respected, applauded—and despised—contemporary directors. Some of his movies will forever be regarded as revolutionary in the history of cinema and he has created his own style, the Tarantino style. This consists of the blending of different genres, the representation of violence in an aestheticized way, non-chronological storylines, and the centrality of music in his films (Barnes & Hearn 6; Rennet 391; Ramírez Berg 6). He has shaped his work as that of a “director as DJ,”  “because this cut-and-paste, mix-and-match directorial style is similar to that of a music DJ, who borrows sounds from older songs and combines them to create a new song through a process called ‘sampling’” (Rennet 391). In this article I use the concept of “sampling” to focus on Tarantino’s use of music in Django Unchained, and on the notion of the director as DJ. Just as DJs share their music cases, Tarantino shares his aural and visual case as an introduction to his cinematic world. For this purpose, I will group the musical pieces of the movie into those he borrows from other Spaghetti Westerns, “new” songs created for the movie and finally, a piece which is a clear example of “sampling” and intertextuality, or, of the Tarantino style.






Articles (general section) - American language, literature, and culture