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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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Harmonious Interactions

Harmonious Interactions

(p.199) 6 Harmonious Interactions
Hollywood Harmony

Frank Lehman

Oxford University Press

This chapter draws together theoretical and methodological threads from the rest of the book while proposing a broader analytical model, in which various tonal styles—not only pantriadicism—interact. This model is based on a conception of triadic tonality space in which three paradigmatic axes (diatonicity, centricity, and functionality) create numerous distinct and modifiable tonal styles. These distinct styles are shown to harbor persistent associations in mainstream film music. It is argued that wondrous harmony often involves motion through triadic tonality space. A cinematically well-established example of this is the chromatically modulating cadence (CMC); the role of cadences in general for organizing film time is emphasized. The dialectic between tonal idioms has been mined for its connotative power by composers wishing to portray the various wondrous affects, and a variety of examples drawn from films that dramatize the “beatific sublime” are investigated, concluding with Alfred Newman’s The Song of Bernadette.

Keywords:   cadence, Alfred Newman, Hugo Friedhofer, Mark Snow, dialectic, syntax, monism, dualism, sublime, modality

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