Fanning out from the Fanfare

Max Steiner’s Theme for Warner Bros.


  • Brent Yorgason Brigham Young University
  • Jeff Lyon Brigham Young University



Max Steiner, corpus study, fanfare, film music


In 1937, Max Steiner created a fanfare for Warner Bros. to accompany the appearance of the WB shield at the beginning of each film. The fanfare made its first appearance in Tovarich, using bits and pieces from the opening themes of A Star is Born and First Lady. The C major setting of the fanfare in Gold is Where You Find It (1938) became the “canonical” version to which Steiner most frequently referred. From 1937 to 1951 it was used by Steiner and other Warner Bros. composers to open nearly every film. After 1951, Steiner began using the fanfare much less frequently, with its final appearance occurring in Battle Cry (1955).

Author Biographies

Brent Yorgason, Brigham Young University

Brent Yorgason is an Associate Professor at the BYU School of Music.

Jeff Lyon, Brigham Young University

Jeff Lyon is an Assistant Librarian at Brigham Young University.


Behlmer, Rudy. 1973. Warner Brothers: 50 years of film music. Liner notes. Warner Bros.

Lehman, Frank. 2018. Hollywood harmony: musical wonder and the sound of cinema. New York: Oxford University Press. DOI:



How to Cite

Yorgason, B., & Lyon, J. (2022). Fanning out from the Fanfare: Max Steiner’s Theme for Warner Bros. Journal of Film Music, 9(1-2), 43–53.

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