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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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Expression and Transformation

Expression and Transformation

(p.49) 2 Expression and Transformation
Hollywood Harmony

Frank Lehman

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the two core theoretical concepts of this study: expressivity and transformation. These two topics are broached through an initial examination of two highly dissimilar cinematic style topics: whole-tone harmony and stepwise modulations. The stylistic and aesthetic continuity with Romantic Era practices, especially from Wagner, is emphasized. A working model of tonal expressivity is constructed, in which intrinsic and extrinsic musical factors combine to form combinatorial meaning. With these concepts in hand, the notion of transformation—the cornerstone of neo-Riemannian theory—is introduced, and the second half of this chapter fleshes out the idiom of pantriadic chromaticism. A clear definition for pantriadicism is offered, along with a provisional aesthetics and analytical methodology for the idiom. The chapter concludes with a treatment of three common guises of pantriadicism—absolute progressions, sequences, and discursive chromaticism—all of which tend to occur on the musical surface rather than background.

Keywords:   expressivity, transformation, modulation, aesthetics, pantriadicism, chromaticism, surface, meaning, Richard Wagner, Jerry Goldsmith

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