The Major Tritone Progression in Recent Hollywood Science Fiction Films

  title={The Major Tritone Progression in Recent Hollywood Science Fiction Films},
  author={Scott Murphy},
  journal={Music Theory Online},
In the 2002 film Treasure Planet, composer James Newton Howard accompanies the primary shot of the titular orb with an undulation between two major triads a tritone apart. I offer three approaches to understanding the appropriateness of this image/music pairing. First, I present several scenes from recent Hollywood films that conspicuously combine this triadic progression with settings of, or objects from, outer space. Second, I relay ways in which the intrinsic harmonic and voice-leading… 

Figures from this paper

A Pop Music Progression in Recent Popular Movies and Movie Trailers
A harmonic progression of four chords, ubiquitous in popular music from the end of the twentieth century and the beginning of the twenty-first, also occurs in many popular movies and movie trailers
Understanding the Leitmotif: From Wagner to Hollywood Film Music
1. Introduction: the leitmotif problem Part I. Musical Themes: 2. Motive, phrase, melody, and theme 3. Thematic development, thematic identity: musical themes and the prototype model Part II. Musical
The Musical Conventions of Star Trek: A Search for Musical Syntax in Science Fiction
When setting out to write this thesis it was with the purpose to understand modern film scoring. The question I was asking myself was in the lines of: ''What is going on with modern film music?
Fanfare as Fulcrum
Max Steiner’s fanfare for Warner Brothers (WB), which was used to introduce most of the studio’s films during the years 1938–1955, is unique in that is does not have a clearly defined ending.
Hollywood Cadences: Music and the Structure of Cinematic Expectation
Table of Contents* I. The Hollywood Sound [1.1]* II. Cadential Synchronization [2.1]* III. Definining Cadences [3.1]* IV. Cowboy Chromaticism [4.1]* IV. Chromatically Modulating Cadential Resolutions
Clean as a Whistle: Timbral Trajectories and the Modern Musical Sublime
I. Introduction[1.1] This essay considers some expressive aspects of musical timbre.(1) Objectively quantifiable in terms of spectral energy distribution, onset, envelope, and spectral flux, timbre
Film Music Themes: Analysis and Corpus Study
[1] Themes are one of film music's most memorable and iconic elements. Not only do they fulfill an associative role that adds emotional depth to characters, relationships, places, and the like, but
Mickey Mouse Muzak: Shaping Experience Musically at Walt Disney World
  • Gregory Camp
  • Sociology, Art
    Journal of the Society for American Music
  • 2017
Abstract The academic assessment of the products of the Walt Disney Company is usually highly negative, drawing out their sexist, racist, and mercenary factors. Although such views are not easily
Music Theory Through the Lens of Film
The encounter of a musical repertoire with a theoretical system benefits the latter even as it serves the former. A robustly applied theoretic apparatus hones our appreciation of a given corpus,
Good vs. evil: the role of the soundtrack in developing a dichotomy in "Harry potter and the sorcerer's stone"
Scholars have noted various characteristics of John Williams's film music, such as the presence of character-based themes and leitmotivic composition that creates score unity. What scholars have


Voice-Leading Spaces
This paper studies networks of pitch-classes that model voiceleading-the progression of pitches to form horizontal "voices" or "lines." While tonal voice-leading depends on distinctions between step
Coordination of Interval Sizes in Seven-Tone Collections
In the Appendix to his book on The Structure of Atonal Music, Allen Forte lists 38 seven-pc subsets of the twelve-semitone set (1973 and cf. 1964). These 38 seven-tone sets are listed in Figure 1. In
The ♯IV(♭ V) Hypothesis: Testing the Limits of Schenker's Theory of Tonality
This paper answers suspicions that Schenkerian theory is powerful only because it is somehow riven with circular assumptions and ad hoc inferences by discovering and testing boundaries to the
“ The Major Tritone Progression in Recent Hollywood Science Fiction Films