Music to Climb By
Rising Chromaticism in Max Steiner’s Score for King Kong
Keywords:King Kong, Max Steiner, chromaticism, mickey mousing, leitmotif
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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