Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


School of Contemporary Arts


Faculty of Communications and Creative Industries

First Advisor

Mr Lindsay R. Vickery


The focus of this paper is the film composition of composer Goran Bregovic (born 1950) and the country of his birth Yugoslavia. Yugoslavia has undergone many major political changes over the past century and its ethno-political history over the past fifteen years could be considered as one of the most turbulent of our time. The aim of this thesis is to uncover the conceptual principles behind Bregovic’s unique approach to soundtrack music in order to create appropriate musical analogies in film composition. Bregovic’s musical career in the iconic Yugoslav rock band Bijelo dugme (White Button), his interest in the traditional Balkan music and collaborations with the Yugoslav film director Emir Kusturica were the stepping stones for him to develop an artistic profile as one of the world’s most demanding film composers. The dissertation addresses Bregovic’s initial conceptual approaches to the soundtrack writing in both Yugoslav and international film productions. Starting with the first international success, the score for Kusturica’s Don za vesanje (Time of the Gypsies), Bregovic’s approach to soundtrack writing has mainly been conceptually relevant to the particular ideological nomenclature of the depicted theatrical conflict in the given films. Such ideologically based compositional principle has enabled Bregovic to work with various types of recontextualisation of traditional Balkan music in both Yugoslav and international film productions. The research unfolds the concepts behind the metaphoric use of Balkan music in three analysed films and connects the compositional frameworks to the socio-cultural history of Yugoslavia (and particularly the composer’s native Bosnia and Herzegovina from the early thirteenth or fourteenth century to the present day), Bregovic’s musical history prior to these film productions and the film directors’ approaches to the depicted dramatic conflict in the given productions. The final part of the thesis discusses the relevance between the researched topic and the author’s own creative work in the field of original composition that is inspired by various types of traditional Balkan music.