Journal of Film Music 2023-03-18T06:15:26+00:00 William Rosar Open Journal Systems <p><em>The Journal of Film Music</em> is a forum for the musicological study of film from the standpoint of dramatic musical art. The analytical tools and methodologies of historical, systematic, cognitive, and ethnomusicology all are relevant and essential to this study, which seeks to both document and illuminate film practice through source studies, analysis, theory, and criticism. </p> Tugging at Heartstrings 2023-03-18T06:15:19+00:00 Tom Schneller Táhirih Motazedian <p>The love theme is one of the central musicodramatic topics of classic Hollywood music but, thus far, little scholarly attention has been paid to the specific musical devices used by film composers to depict love. To the extent that musical analysis has entered the picture at all, it has tended to focus on the motivic level, despite the fact that much of the emotional alchemy of film music resides in its harmonic structure. This is particularly true for classic Hollywood love themes, which often draw on subtle chromatic inflections to weave their affective spells. In this article, we will address two particular harmonic schemas associated with romance during the studio era: (1) the Heartstring schema, which involves the inflection of a major tonic by a chromatic chord usually centered on b6^, and (2) the downstep modulation, a variant of the circle-of-fifths sequence. Both schemas rely on the bittersweet frisson between major and minor modes, a tension that contributes significantly to the emotional punch still packed by the great love themes of Hollywood’s Golden Age.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Loving Out Loud 2023-03-18T06:15:04+00:00 Eric McKee <p>This article examines the critical reception of love scenes in early Hollywood sound films (1928–1933). Why were love scenes so unsuccessful, and what did Hollywood do to fix the problem? Hollywood quickly responded and developed a new approach. In the second part, I consider the role of music in one common type of love scene—the ballroom love scene, in the films Coquette (1929) and The Naughty Flirt (1931). These films feature two innovative techniques—drifts and jumps—which provide musical pathways from diegetic to nondiegetic spaces (and sometimes back again). In a survey of 220 films, in almost every case these innovative techniques were reserved for love scenes. I argue that drifts and jumps deepened the audience’s engagement, thereby making filmic lovemaking more palatable and less susceptible to mockery and laughter.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Fractured Reasons and Fractured Reason in I Walked with a Zombie 2023-03-18T06:14:59+00:00 Michael Lee Sarah Reichardt Ellis <p>I Walked with a Zombie, a poetic horror film from 1943, enjoys widespread and intense admiration of a sort rarely bestowed on a “B” horror film from the studio era. Robin Wood (2003) sees the film as the genre’s finest and has observed that its treatment of the genre’s signal dichotomy of Superstition vs. Reason results in a series of expressive doublings within the film. This article amplifies Wood’s admiration by examining the film’s approach to music. Its soundtrack features the work of two composers. RKO’s Roy Webb offers the Western perspective of Reason while Haitian musician LeRoy Antoine provides the Caribbean perspective associated with Voodooism. By looking at the musical doublings in the film, this article argues that music functions in the film to further dismantle the posture of Reason. This film, more than any the author can think of from the era, criticizes the colonial project and dismantles the Western notion that any single perspective or explanatory model can lead to a sufficient understanding of human affairs.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Monothematicism and Fate in Dust Be My Destiny (1939) 2023-03-18T06:15:23+00:00 Brent Yorgason Jeff Lyon <p>In the classic Hollywood style, monothematic film scores are rare. Perhaps the most well known of these is David Raksin’s score for Laura (1944). Max Steiner’s score for the 1939 Warner Bros. film Dust Be My Destiny similarly uses a single focal theme. However, in this case, it is not obsession that drives this compositional choice but fate. Steiner portrays this fight against fate through the recurrence and ongoing transformation of the material from the main theme, which he transforms throughout to portray various and dramatic situations. In all, Steiner presents seventy-one different variants of the theme in the film. As Joe begins to realize that he can shape his own destiny, the theme develops alongside him, up to the final transformation in the closing credits.</p> 2022-12-05T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. New Surprises for Haydn’s Surprise Symphony 2023-03-18T06:15:07+00:00 Jeff Lyon Brent Yorgason <p>In his score to the 1939 film We Are Not Alone, Max Steiner uses the melody from the second movement of Joseph Haydn’s Surprise Symphony forty-one times to represent different situations, places, emotions, and character development for Dr. David Newcome, played by Paul Muni. In each variation, Steiner adds an extra “surprise” to the theme. These variations include the use of dark textures, mode changes, reharmonization, chromaticism, meter changes, melodic variation, and the orchestration of diegetic music.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. The Past, Present, and Future of the Collections of Cinema and Media Music Database 2023-03-18T06:15:15+00:00 Michael W Harris Jeff Lyon Heather Fisher Joshua Henry Sienna M Wood <p>For many scholars, critical analysis of film and media music is stymied by a lack of published or manuscript materials, and discoverability of such materials is many times hampered by how archival materials are cataloged. While numerous composers have deposited their papers at libraries and archives across the globe, discovery of these collections has occurred via citations in books and articles, or word-of-mouth between scholars.</p> <p>This is because archival collections are cataloged with a focus on the creator of the collection and not the individual object (such as a book or manuscript score). Therefore, if the score or other materials for a film are in a collection of a studio, or someone other than the composer themselves, they might be hard, if not impossible, to find without a lot of searching or a stroke of luck. Adding to the difficulty is that some of these collections are not fully indexed or searchable, so many materials remain hidden under a century of backlogged archival processing.</p> <p>In order to address this problem, the Collections of Cinema and Media Music (C2M2) has been designed, built, and populated by a small team spread across the United States. This paper will discuss the design and implantation of C2M2, with a focus on the task of creating a custom metadata schema that addresses the unique issues of film and media music, and the myriad of ways a researcher might try to access a particular score. It will also show the reader how the metadata functions and displays within the database, with discussions of the challenges inherent in a project of this scope.</p> <p>As research into film and media music continues to expand, scholars are clamoring for access to materials to expand their research beyond the realm of music–film relationships and into areas reliant on archival materials. In such a world, tools such as C2M2 will be critical in creating the ease of access that will eliminate the barriers that hamper such work.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Music to Climb By 2023-03-18T06:14:55+00:00 Jonathan L Friedmann <p>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.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Making Space for Music 2023-03-18T06:15:26+00:00 Nathan Platte <p>Max Steiner met Robert Wise, future director of West Side Story (1961) and The Sound of Music (1965), at RKO in the early 1930s. While Steiner served as composer and music director for films like Of Human Bondage (1934), The Gay Divorcee (1934), The Informer (1935), and Top Hat (1935), Wise helped manage the soundtrack as an assistant sound and music editor. After Steiner left RKO in early 1936, Wise stayed on at the studio to advance through the ranks of film editor and director before reuniting with Steiner at Warner Bros. for the melodrama So Big (1953) and sword-and-sandals epic Helen of Troy (1956).</p> <p>Drawing on original archival research, this article reconstructs a partnership that briefly flourished at different stages of their careers. At RKO, Wise learned the trade while observing Steiner’s ground-breaking efforts as a composer. By the 1950s Wise was rapidly growing in renown as a director, as signaled by his assignment to the generously budgeted Helen of Troy. In contrast, Steiner faced pay cuts and the termination of his contract at Warner Bros. Steiner’s two productions with Wise boosted Steiner’s lagging career while also illuminating the ways in which shifting aesthetics and production practices in Hollywood had left Steiner at a disadvantage. Whereas So Big represented a throwback to films like Cimarron, which Steiner had scored at RKO in 1931 (both based on Edna Ferber novels), Helen of Troy marked a new emphasis on visual and aural spectacle, with an epic narrative told through CinemaScope, stereophonic sound, and a cast of thousands. Writings on director-composer partnerships tend to emphasize the formation of a distinctive sonic style, in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock and Bernard Herrmann. Steiner and Wise, in contrast, were consummate studio employees, eager to serve productions that ranged widely in topic, genre, and budget. Studying their brief partnership in the 1950s reveals how two individuals well versed in the workings of the Hollywood studio system managed to help each other navigate its dismantling in the 1950s.</p> 2022-12-02T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Dodge City 2023-03-18T06:14:52+00:00 Mariana Whitmer <p>Michael Curtiz’s 1939 Dodge City ushered in a new era for the Western genre. Successfully modeled on the popular swashbuckler, this film was at the forefront of a renaissance in the production of feature-length Westerns that would continue almost unabated until the 1970s. Dodge City was closely modeled on previous Warner Bros. swashbucklers, retaining the same director (Curtiz) and several actors. Yet the decision to have Max Steiner create the musical accompaniment, instead of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, offered a fresh approach. Steiner’s prior experience with Westerns made him appropriately suited for this project as reflected in his composition and treatment of themes, as well as in his carefully crafted action music. Steiner’s music reflects the epic qualities of Dodge City, including the scenic surroundings, the tense action scenes, and the developing romance, yet with the added characteristics evocative of trains, wagons, and horses. Utilizing his original sketches for Dodge City, this essay examines how Steiner created a Western sound that was inspired by previous romantic swashbucklers, but altered to accommodate the frontier setting. To understand how Steiner tempered the dramatic intensity of the costume drama to complement the Western aesthetic, I focus specifically on the culminating action scene, examining how Steiner developed thematic material to underscore action scenes and reused key passages to create contexts for <br />understanding the characters.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Jezebel (1938) and Citizen Kane (1941) 2023-03-18T06:14:48+00:00 Peter Wegele <p>One of Max Steiner’s most famous film themes is the waltz for Jezebel (1938). In this article, the Jezebel waltz will be analyzed and juxtaposed with Bernard Herrmann’s waltz for the marriage scene in Citizen Kane (1941). This comparison, between two composers of completely different styles, will exemplify the features of the music of the Golden Age of Hollywood, as represented by Steiner, in contrast to the newer aesthetic ideas represented by Herrmann.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Proceedings of the Second Max Steiner Symposium, “Film Scoring in the Classic Hollywood Period,” Brigham Young University, November 1–2, 2019 2023-03-18T06:14:44+00:00 Brent Yorgason 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd. Peter Franklin, Seeing Through Music: Gender and Modernism in Classical Hollywood Film Scores 2023-03-18T06:15:11+00:00 Jessica Getman <p>Peter Franklin, Seeing Through Music: Gender and Modernism in Classical Hollywood Film Scores Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011 [208pp. ISBN: 9780195383454. £46.99 (hardback); ISBN: 9780190246549. £31.49 (paperback)], 28 screen stills, index.</p> 2022-12-16T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2022 Equinox Publishing Ltd.