“The soundtrack of their lives”: The Music of Crno-bijeli svijet

Ana Đorđević


Crno-bijeli svijet [Black-White World, HRT, 2015–] is an on-going Croatian television series set in the early 1980s depicting the then-current pop music scene in Zagreb. The storyline follows several characters whose lives are intertwined by complex family relations, while also following the beginnings of new wave/punk rock bands and artists, and their influence on the Yugoslav youth who almost religiously listened to their music, like some of the series’ characters do.

The role of music in television series is a complicated question that caught the attention of film music scholars in recent years. The significance – and, at the same time, the complexity – that music produces or can produce, as the bearer of cultural, social and/or political meanings in television series brings its own set of difficulties in setting out possible frameworks of research. In the case of Crno-bijeli svijet that is even more challenging considering that it revolves around popular music that is actively involved in, not just the series soundtrack, but several aspects of different narrative elements.

Jon Burlingame calls the music of American television “The soundtrack of our lives”, and I find this quote is appropriate for this occasion as well. The quote summarizes and expresses the creators’ personal note that is evident in the use of music in this television series and myriad ways music is connected to other narrative and extra-narrative elements, and in a way, grasps the complicity of the problem I will address.


Article received: March 31, 2018; Article accepted: May 10, 2018; Published online: October 15, 2018; Original scholarly paper


How to cite this article: Đorđević, Ana. “'The soundtrack of their lives': The Music of Crno-bijeli svijet." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 17 (2018): 25−36. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i17.267



film music; pre-existing music; new wave; Yugoslav pop music; Croatian television

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.25038/am.v0i17.267


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