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Key Constellations: Interpreting Tonality in Film


Published by University of California Press (October 2023)

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 Supplementary material for Chapter 2 

 ✶ page 30:  Video 1

The brothers decide to let go of their father's belongings (top), they feel elation at their decision (middle), and they shed the weight of their father's baggage (bottom).

The English Patient:  G-major "Love Theme" turns into B-minor "Oriental Theme."

 ✶ page 45:  Video 2

Amadeus:  D minor sharply interjects and stuns Mozart.

 ✶ page 46:  Video 3

Amadeus:  Salieri's cadential conquest over his father.

 ✶ page 48:  Video 4

Amadeus:  Cadential frustration leads Madame Cavalieri away from Salieri.


 ✶ page 41:  Web-Figure 1

 ✶ page 48:  Web-Figure 2

The look of "unfulfillable longing" on Salieri's face, when Madame Cavalieri sings the V7 chord of Mozart’s “Martern aller Arten” aria.

 ✶ page 49:  Video 5

Amadeus:  Cadentially frustrating fart.

 ✶ page 51:  Video 6

Amadeus:  Closing "Amen" of Mozart's funeral.

 ✶ page 51:  Video 7

Amadeus:  Mozart's last laugh bungles Salieri's final cadence.

 ✶ page 53:  Video 8

30 Rock, episode 7.5:  Jenna Maroney's tonal jump cut.

 Supplementary material for Chapter 3 

 ✶ page 57:  Web-Figure 3

Benjamin wearing a similar expression at the beginning of the film (riding an airplane) and the end of the film (riding a bus).

 ✶ page 69:  Web-Figure 4


Opening shot of The Royal Tenenbaums.

 ✶ page 69:  Video 9

The Royal Tenenbaums: Opening sequence.

 ✶ page 73:  Video 10

Hidden Figures:  Directional uplift from D minor to E minor.

 ✶ page 74:  Web-Figure 5

Themes in Emma, as I have named them. (N.B. The official soundtrack lists eighteen different tracks, with elaborate titles describing their occurrence within the plot; but many of them feature the same thematic material with varied instrumentation or figuration. They boil down to the five basic themes shown here.)

 ✶ page 77:  Video 11

Theme music from For a Few Dollars More (Ennio Morricone) and Fantastic Mr. Fox (Alexandre Desplat).

 ✶ page 79:  Video 12

Fantastic Mr. Fox:  Mr. Fox's first toast (A major) and second toast (D major).

 Supplementary material for Chapter 4 

 ✶ page 84:  Web-Figure 6

Original themes (and their keys) in The Talented Mr. Ripley. (*The three theme names marked with an asterisk are my own: "Mischief mobilized" is part of the theme labeled "Mischief" in the soundtrack, the "Italia corrupted" theme is labeled as both "Ripley" and "Crazy Tom" in the soundtrack, and "Death" is not listed in the soundtrack at all.)

 ✶ page 84:  Web-Figure 7


Symmetrical framing of the overall palindromic filmic structure of The Talented Mr. Ripley. (Notice, too, the symmetry of Tom's positioning: in moving left-to-right, we enter into Tom's head as he faces left, and we leave Tom's head as he faces right).

 ✶ page 85:  Video 13

The Talented Mr. Ripley:  D-minor death at the opera, Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin.

 ✶ page 88:  Web-Figure 8


Tom standing below, watching Peter in the balcony of the cathedral.

 ✶ page 88:  Video 14

The Talented Mr. Ripley:  E♭-major montage.

 ✶ page 90:  Video 15

The Talented Mr. Ripley:  E♭-minor-to-major montage.

 ✶ page 93:  Video 16

The Talented Mr. Ripley:  Compilation of cadential frustration.

 ✶ page 93:  Web-Figure 9


The second movement of Beethoven's Piano Quartet, Op. 16 (mm. 9–12), in which the V7 chord is interrupted before resolution to I can occur.

 ✶ page 94:  Web-Figure 10


The first movement of Bach's Italian Concerto, BWV 971 (mm. 1–9), in which the V7 chord is interrupted before resolution to I can occur.

 ✶ page 94:  Web-Figure 11


Ending of Miles Davis's "Nature Boy."

 ✶ page 98:  Web-Figure 12

Opening shot of The Grand Budapest Hotel, compared to opening shots of Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Royal Tenenbaums.

 ✶ page 99:  Web-Figure 13

The revelation of the diegetic author (left) and the nondiegetic author (right) synchronized with tonic resolution in the opening and closing sequences (respectively) of The Grand Budapest Hotel.

 ✶ page 99:  Video 17

The Grand Budapest Hotel:  Opening and closing sequences.

 ✶ page 102:  Web-Figure 14


Close-up of Agatha's face showcasing the magical moment during the G-major section of the Vivaldi.

 Supplementary material for Chapter 5 

 ✶ page 113:  Web-Figure 15

The derisive and ineffectual last attempt of C major to restore convention, as personified by this absurdly awful church organist.

 ✶ page 114:  Video 18

Breaking and Entering:  Doorbell buzzes C-D.

 ✶ page 115:  Video 19

The Darjeeling Limited:  Half-steps leading up to funeral flashback.

 ✶ page 117:  Video 20

The Graduate:  Airplane engine hums ^5.

 ✶ page 117:  Video 21

Lost in London:  Jail clock chimes ♭^7.

 ✶ page 119:  Web-Figure 16

Excerpt of Ferarri's Didascalies.

 ✶ page 120:  Web-Figure 17

Opening excerpt of Schumann's Piano Quintet (II. In modo d'una marcia) when Sarah discovers Abigail in bed with Queen Anne.

 ✶ page 120:  Video 22

The Favourite:  Dominant preparation for Schumann's Piano Quintet.

 ✶ page 121:  Video 23

Fantastic Mr. Fox:  Ear radar beeps chordal third.

 ✶ page 121:  Video 24

Benny and Joon:  Balloon music.

 ✶ page 123:  Video 25

Atonement:  Typewriter music.

 ✶ page 123:  Web-Figure 18

The typewriter rhythm intensifies as Briony rushes to open Robbie's letter.

 ✶ page 124:  Video 26

The Grand Budapest Hotel:  Cable car pulleys squeak melody.

 ✶ page 127:  Video 27

Wall Street:  Terafly stock sequence.

 ✶ page 127:  Web-Figure 19

Bud looking dejected after the market closed on his losing Terafly stock, with one more F♯ phone ring on this closing shot.

 ✶ page 127:  Video 28

Montage of ^1/^3/^5-pitched sound effects.

 ✶ page 131:  Video 29

Baby Driver:  Baby's grooving coffee run.

 ✶ page 134:  Video 30

Baby Driver:  Baby and Debora's grooving dinner date.

 ✶ page 143:  Video 31

Pretty Woman:  Church bells peal ^1-^2-^1.

 ✶ page 143:  Video 32

Annie Hall:  Annie's song peppered with phone rings.

 ✶ page 143:  Video 33

30 Rock, episode 5.14:  Plane chime pings blue notes.

 ✶ page 143:  Video 34

I Love You Phillip Morris:  Mother calls out on ♭^7-^6.

 ✶ page 144:  Video 35

2001: A Space Odyssey:  Life support machines beep tritone.

 Supplementary material for Chapter 6 

 ✶ page 148:  Web-Figure 20

Three film score sketch pages by Max Steiner. (My sincerest thanks to Jeff Lyon and Brent Yorgason for sending me these examples from The Max Steiner Collection, housed in the Film Music Archives of the Harold B. Lee Library at Brigham Young University.)

Top:  Sketch from Steiner's score for Edmund Goulding’s 1939 film We Are Not Alone, in which Steiner uses the green pencil to indicate that a sound effect ("Chime") and dialogue event ("He whistles") are pitched to match his music.

Middle:  Sketch from Steiner's score for Frank Capra's 1944 film Arsenic and Old Lace, in which Steiner writes out the pitches of a dialogue event ("He whistles") to match his music. In this case, Cary Grant is to whistle "Here Comes the Bride" in G major, to match the green-penciled G-major chord—Steiner even wrote out the first two measures of the tune in the staff and measure below the green-underlined "He whistles."

Bottom:  Another sketch from Steiner's score for Arsenic and Old Lace, in which Steiner specifies that Priscilla Lane should whistle the same tune in A major ("use whistle in A major"), with the opening four measures of the tune written below (in red).

 ✶ page 153:  Video 36

On Golden Pond:  Longer than 15-second lapse between music and sound effects.

 ✶ page 153:  Video 37

When Harry Met Sally…:  Longer than 15-second lapse between music and sound effects.

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