Film music often tells us how to feel, but it also guides us how to hear. Filmgoing is an intensely musical experience, one in which the soundtrack structures our interpretations and steers our emotions. Hollywood Harmony explores the inner workings of film music, bringing together tools from music theory, musicology, and music psychology in this first ever book-length analytical study of this culturally central repertoire. Harmony, and especially chromaticism, is emblematic of the "film music sound," and it is often used to evoke that most cinematic of feelings-wonder. To help parse this familiar but complex musical style, Hollywood Harmony offers a first-of-its kind introduction to neo-Riemannian theory, a recently developed and versatile method of understanding music as a dynamic and transformational process, rather than a series of inert notes on a page. This application of neo-Riemannian theory to film music is perfect way in for curious newcomers, while also constituting significant scholarly contribution to the larger discipline of music theory. Author Frank Lehman draws from his extensive knowledge of cinematic history with case-studies that range from classics of Golden Age Hollywood to massive contemporary franchises to obscure cult-films. Special emphasis is placed on scores for major blockbusters such as Lord of the Rings, Star Wars, and Inception. With over a hundred meticulously transcribed music examples and more than two hundred individual movies discussed, Hollywood Harmony will fascinate any fan of film and music.
In The Press
"Hollywood Harmony brings analysis of film music fully into the present. Sophisticated theoretical modeling of associations and effects in the currently prevalent triadic style of underscore practice combines with close readings that not only offer fresh insights but also an over-the-composer's-shoulder immediacy."--David Neumeyer, Professor Emeritus of Music, The University of Texas at Austin and co-author of Hearing the Movies
"Lehman does more than illuminate an intriguing and analytically neglected repertoire; his study demonstrates how well suited the tools and technologies of neo-Riemannian theory are to reveal the affective devices of film music."--Ed Gollin, Professor of Music, Williams College
About The Author
Frank Lehman is an Assistant Professor of Music at Tufts University, and holds degrees from Brown University and Harvard University. As a music theorist, he is interested in how music works and what effects it has on its listeners. His research has explored a range of styles and repertoires, from nineteenth century instrumental compositions to film scores to ambient music. He has recently focused on the composers John Williams and Hans Zimmer. He lives in Belmont, Massachusetts.