Max Steiner and Extended Tonality
Keywords:Harmony, The Flame and the Arrow, Key Largo, Max Steiner, Music Theory
Since the revitalization of film music studies in the 1980s, the field has been dominated by musicological approaches, with music theory and analysis taking a back seat. As a result, film music scholars lack a common set of techniques for grappling with the harmony, rhythm, form, and melody of film music cues. But this situation is beginning to change: recent research by Frank Lehman and Scott Murphy offers powerful new tools for thinking about film music harmony. The purpose of this essay is to test the systems developed by these theorists against the music of Max Steiner, hopefully contributing to the development of a share analytical vocabulary for film music, and deepening our understanding of Steiner’s compositional technique.
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