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Research Article
27 December 2023

These Visual Delights Have Sonic Ends: Affective Attunement and Audiovisual Prolepsis in Westworld’s Title Sequence

Publication: Music, Sound, and the Moving Image
Volume 17, Number 2


Through the blending of the science fiction and western genres, the HBO series Westworld explores issues of humanity and agency. These themes are not only played out through the series’ sprawling storylines; they are also encoded in the series’ title sequence. In this essay, I expand Leslie A. Hahner’s concept of affective prolepsis in visuals to audiovisual prolepsis in order to illustrate how the paratextual title sequence visually and musically prepares the audience by encoding the series’ central philosophical questions of what it means to be alive and the role of agency in the conception of humanity. I argue the title sequence attunes the audience to these questions through a visual assembly of a body and a musical foreshadowing of a dance of agency and power struggles. Through considering audiovisual prolepsis, scholars are better able to understand how the intentions of media creators translate—successfully or unsuccessfully—to viewer experience and interpretation.

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Media Cited

Angels in America, HBO, USA, 2003.
‘Around the World’ [music video], Daft Punk, Michel Gondry, Virgin Records, France, 1997.
Battlestar Galactica, Sci-Fi Channel, USA, 2004–2009.
Beyond Westworld, CBS Broadcasting, USA, 1980.
Blade Runner, Ridley Scott, USA/Hong Kong, 1982.
Dollhouse, Fox Network, USA, 2009–2010.
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Futureworld, Richard T. Heffron, USA, 1976.
The Great Train Robbery, Edwin S. Porter, USA, 1903.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu, USA, 2017–present.
Mad Men, AMC, USA, 2007–2015.
Le Mépris, Jean-Luc Godard, France/Italy, 1963.
Mindhunter, Netflix, USA, 2017–2019.
The Night Of, HBO, USA, 2016.
One Day at a Time, Netflix/Pop TV, USA, 2017–2020.
‘The Original’, Westworld (1.01), HBO, USA, 2 October 2016.
The Orville, Fox Network, USA, 2017–2022.
Oz, HBO, USA, 1997–2003.
The Picture of Dorian Gray, Albert Lewin, USA, 1945.
The Ranch, Netflix, USA, 2016–2020.
Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, George Lucas, USA, 1977.
The Wire, HBO, USA, 2002–2008.
Westworld, HBO, USA, 2016–2022.
Westworld, Michael Crichton, USA, 1973.

Information & Authors


Published In

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image
Volume 17Number 227 December 2023
Pages: 87 - 110


Published online: 27 December 2023
Published in print: 27 December 2023


  1. audiovisual prolepsis
  2. television
  3. theme music
  4. title sequence
  5. Westworld



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