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Hollywood HarmonyMusical Wonder and the Sound of Cinema$
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Frank Lehman

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190606398

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190606398.001.0001

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Tonal Practices

Tonal Practices

(p.15) 1 Tonal Practices
Hollywood Harmony

Frank Lehman

Oxford University Press

This chapter lays out a series of conventions toward pitch design that both constrain musical meaning making in film and enable its unique effects. The chapter begins by examining the idiom of late Romanticism in European art music and the ways in which film music conforms to and differs from that model. This exploration is followed by a discussion of three vital aspects of American cinematic tonality: subordination, immediacy, and referentiality. Examples are drawn from an expansive set of filmmaking eras and styles; these range from the early days of the Sound Era to far more contemporary sounds. Beginning in this chapter, the beginnings of an interpretive methodology are constructed, recruiting from approaches as diverse as leitmotivic, atonal, Schenkerian, and audiovisual styles of analysis.

Keywords:   tonality, Romanticism, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Max Steiner, John Williams, Leonard Rosenman, Henry Mancini, Miklós Rózsa, Terence Blanchard, Schenkerian analysis

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