Irony is an important discursive mode and literary trope. It invites a debate about meaning and significance, creates a feeling of community among perceivers (even if, on the surface, it excludes), and draws them into morally active engagement. Irony can allow for conceptual points to be perceived more quickly and to be remembered longer than do literal statements. Art music has remained relevant to the wider popular culture partly through its use in films, and ironic deployments of this music constitute one of its most sophisticated uses. It makes perceivers aware of the surface features of a film, its multiple, deeper contextual layers, and the complex interplay that takes place among them, which helps directors to make conceptual and narrative points that transcend their immediate filmic narratives. In the so-called "Golden Age" of Hollywood film, circa 1933-60, the narrative elements, including and especially music, were standardized in order to create a product with the clearest possible narrative. Composers during this period employed the stylistic elements of the Romantic orchestral idiom as the lingua franca of cinema due to its cultural currency and in particular its well-established emotional connotations. Throughout the 1960s however, the major Hollywood studios began to experiment with different filmic products, especially those modeled on European auteurism, which placed the control of the film in the hands of a single filmmaker and not, as was Hollywood practice, in the hands of a committee. With the success of such non-traditional films and their even less- traditional scores, the Hollywood establishment became more willing to take chances by placing the various components of films under the control of individual directors. With the music choices now in the hands of the auteur, the rules and conventions for music in films changed, and preexisting art music has had a noticeable presence in films from the late 1960s until the present. Moreover, ironically deployed art music became, if not a staple, a regularly used device by some of Hollywood's more sophisticated directors. The recognition of this irony can unmask deeper contextual layers that reveal or enhance major themes in the films and, in some cases, the ideology of the filmmaker. Moreover, music, through its association and interaction with film, can reinscribe itself and its perceived meaning within the wider culture. This means that art music continues to be relevant to our culture; music acquires renewed meaning through its significant and sophisticated participation in the Western world's most popular artistic medium.