There can be no doubt about the importance of the music in the audiovisual production of Carlos Saura. Despite the fact that this relationship is shown in the very personal musical films he has produced since 1981, music has been, from the beginning of his career, a substantial element of the staging in his films. One of the aims of this article is to point out its importance in some of the films directed by this filmmaker between 1967 and 1981: Peppermint frappe (1967), El jardín de las delicias (1970), La prima Angélica (1973), Cría cuervos (1975), Mamá cumple cien años (1979) and Dulces horas (1981). These films are characterized by a great musical density and for having original music, composed especially for them and for compositions of classical and ancient cultural tradition, they also often use popular music and songs that play an important dramatic and narrative part, beyond its mere aesthetic use. The reiteration of specific genres of the popular songs in these films, particularly those with folk roots, or well known in some parts of the country (coplas, pasodobles, sevillanas, songs of revistas and comedias musicales) among the most notable, as well as the repetition of interpreters or even specific topics, suggests the existence of a musical system that assigns to some elements similar functions that are repeated from one film to another, giving unity and continuity to this period of the filmography of Carlos Saura.
This article investigates the functions assigned to the popular song in audiovisual production, with the idea of breaking down the complex utilities that this has in the films studied. These functions also determine the end of a period in the director’s work that, henceforth who will not use again the distinctive musical procedures of these films.