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Discordant Notes About Movie Music

January 13, 1991

Kevin Costner's ear for music extends only to the pleasant jingle of box-office receipts, while his film's score suggests a nickelodeon-type shoot-em-up thriller circa 1910.

Neither the pathos nor the defiance of a beleaguered (Native American) nation was realistically or imaginatively realized through what should have been (but was not) an artistically viable music accompaniment to the film. Thus the sound track served the same dubious purpose of all past spaghetti Westerns.

"Dances With Wolves" has (once again) dashed the hopes of professional Native American artists to achieve a full participation in film productions wherein their exquisitely tailored skills and ethnic insights would combine to further the aims and purposes of the cinematic art form.

The sequel? "Dances With Wolves II," of course . . . a euphemism for "Dances With Dollars."

LOUIS W. BALLARD

Santa Fe

The letter writer, born on an Oklahoma Indian reservation, is a composer and former music director of the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

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