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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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Analyzing Chromaticism in Film

Analyzing Chromaticism in Film

(p.127) 4 Analyzing Chromaticism in Film
Hollywood Harmony

Frank Lehman

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides a set of small analytical case studies meant to illustrate important methodological and interpretive issues that arise in the study of chromatic film music. Five central topics organize these analyses, each with interesting ramifications for the structure and expressive content of film music: contextuality, distance, voice leading, equivalence, and patterning. Examples are drawn from a range of film composers and styles, with special emphasis placed on the idiosyncratic and influential work of Bernard Herrmann. A recurring theme throughout is that of leitharmonie—the use of chords and harmonic progressions in a motivic- and symbolic-rich fashion. Increasing emphasis is placed on hermeneutics and the issue of how music, and harmony in particular, aid listeners in structuring and interpreting filmic narrative.

Keywords:   contextuality, distance, voice leading, equivalence, symmetry, Bernard Herrmann, James Horner, James Newton Howard, Danny Elfman, Alan Silvestri, Dave Grusin

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