Music to Climb By

Rising Chromaticism in Max Steiner’s Score for King Kong

Authors

  • Jonathan L Friedmann Academy for Jewish Religion California

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.24722

Keywords:

King Kong, Max Steiner, chromaticism, mickey mousing, leitmotif

Abstract

This paper examines the influence of the “climbing motif” that scores the ascent of the Empire State Building in King Kong (1933). Similar rising chromatic lines occur in numerous later film and television sequences involving suspenseful climbs. The various iterations can be traced to Max Steiner’s landmark score, which has inspired generations of screen composers.

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Published

2022-12-16

How to Cite

Friedmann, J. L. (2022). Music to Climb By: Rising Chromaticism in Max Steiner’s Score for King Kong. Journal of Film Music, 10(2), 153–161. https://doi.org/10.1558/jfm.24722