* Abbreviated versions of this paper were presented at the University of South Dakota in September 2003 and the University of Houston in October 2004. I thank Rebecca Leydon for her thoughtful comments on an earlier draft.
1. Each time (in hours:minutes:seconds) that identifies a particular moment in a film uses the timestamp provided in the most recent DVD version of the film as of June 2005.
2. Each musical example is a transcription by the author of a musical excerpt from the soundtrack of the most current release of the film. The choice of time signatures, durational values, and other notational details reflect my own perception of the music, and may not exactly match that of the original score. Ideally, these musical examples would be reductions of the original scores. However, given the relative difficulty in accessing original scores for all of these excerpts, and the relative simplicity of the musical features to which I attend, I have chosen to transcribe. Some minutiae that are ancillary and not contradictory to my arguments (such as octave doublings) may be omitted or simplified in the transcriptions; in other cases, they are simply not perceived--when compared to an audio musical soundtrack recording--because of dialogue or sound effects on the soundtrack. However, this is to make a point: as my analysis primarily concerns the association between music and image, I wish to understand what people hear when they view the film, rather than what people hear separately within the soundtrack.
3. I admit that Hanson's opening adorns the tritone progression with additional notes, but it is appropriate and unproblematic for a listener to extract the tritone progression, as this is exactly what Hanson does later in his symphony.
4. William Rosar, personal communication on 13 October 2003, and "Music for Martians: Schillinger's Two Tonics and Harmony of Fourths in Leith Stevens' Score for War of the Worlds (1953)," Journal of Film Music 1/4 (2005), forthcoming. Rebecca Leydon, in "Hooked on Aetherophonics: The Day the Earth Stood Still" in Off the Planet: Music, Sound and Science Fiction Cinema, ed. Philip Hayward (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2004), 37, cites the use of the tritone progression in Herrmann's sci-fi score, as does E. Todd Fiegel in "Bernard Herrmann as Musical Colorist: A Musicodramatic Analysis of His Score for The Day the Earth Stood Still" Journal of Film Music 1/2-3 (Fall/Winter 2003), 209: "In �Outer Space' [essentially the main title of the film], however, the tritone plays an important harmonic role. The interval is first apparent in the second phrase as a root progression from A-flat to D. The harmony implied by the root motion from A-flat to D takes on a strong symbolic quality in The Day the Earth Stood Still."
5. There is at least one indication that this association has continued in the years following 2002. The MTTP occurs no less than nine times in John Debney's score for the science fiction film Zathura (2005). Its first use culminates the musical cue during which the board game is introduced (0:17:24); specifically, it accompanies the exact moment that the game's symbol of the "planet" Zathura comes into view. The second occurrence punctuates the scene (0:22:22) in which the two brothers realize that their home is drifting through outer space.
6. Ultimately, this claim can only be completely supported by extensive surveys both of the MTTP in recent Hollywood scoring and of the various triadic progressions used to accompany scenes of outer space. In lieu of an explicit display of such surveys here, I can only state that I have listened to and documented aspects of harmonic progression in over two hundred soundtracks for mainstream Hollywood films from the past quarter-century prior to Treasure Planet, and my claim is based in large part on this sampling.
If one were to cast a larger associative net, however, the MTTP is often heard to accompany the extraordinary, and that which is beyond normal human experience. For example, the progression recurs throughout Alan Silvestri's scores to the Back to the Future (1985, 1989, 1990) films as a signifier of the mysteries and wonders of time travel, it highlights the moment when Daryl Hannah's character sees the true nature of the titular character in Shirley Walker's score for Memoirs of an Invisible Man (1992), and it accompanies the first occasion when the titular character's ability to understand animals leads to a healing (of an owl, in this case) in Richard Gibbs's score for Doctor Doolittle (1998). This last example associates the MTTP with a bit of heroism as well, which is better exemplified in the touches of MTTP James Horner adds to two "flying rescue" scenes in The Rocketeer (1991). However, Horner also places the MTTP in a very different context with its recurrent use in Courage Under Fire (1996), a film set in and after the Persian Gulf War in which a psychologically scarred soldier seeks the truth about another soldier's supposed meritorious conduct in combat. The progression, played heavily in low brass, weights pivotal moments in the narrative, many of which are more tragic or solemn than extraordinary or heroic.
Although none of these films involves outer space, thereby potentially diluting the association I am asserting, neither do any of these films represent in part a dissimilar extra-musical association that surpasses the MTTP/"outer space" association in both frequency and specificity. On the one hand, the "extraordinary" association occurs considerably more often the more particular "outer space" association, but the former is much more diffuse than, and arguably includes, the latter. On the other hand, any image, setting, or concept whose meaning is focused to a degree roughly comparable to that of "outer space"--perhaps "technological magic," "war," or "solemnity"--is not accompanied by the MTTP in Hollywood scoring as often and as conspicuously as outer space is.
7. At first glance, the scene from Treasure Planet during which Example 1 is heard can scarcely be considered a significant introduction to the outer-space setting: the entire voyage so far has taken place in outer space. However, the filmmakers' idiosyncractic conception of an outer-space setting contrasts with those settings accompanied by the excerpts of Example 2, in that it creatively interweaves aspects of both extraterrestrial space travel and terrestrial seafaring. The scene in which the spaceship--which closely resembles a Spanish galleon--commences its voyage is a good example of this hybridization: artificial gravity is engaged, but there is no protection from the airless vacuum of space; rockets propel the ship, but on a heading of south-by-southwest. The background of space is not black and void, but various shades of blue and violet with plenty of cloud-like formations for the ship to sail either below or through. If anything, the scene that first displays the image of Treasure Planet tips the scales back toward the setting as outer space; it reintroduces the viewer to this setting.
8. There are occasional and transitory MTTPs during the long scene featuring exterior shots of the Enterprise (0:15:59-21:52). One MTTP, synchronous with shots of planets out the bridge viewscreen, serves as a cadential progression for the Enterprise's departure (0:39:11).
9. 1:22:15, 1:27:05, 1:28:18, 1:30:57, 1:31:04, 1:31:52, 1:34:42 (Example 2d), 1:35:01, and 1:36:02. There is also an extremely brief MTTP for a cut to an exterior shot at 1:23:34.
10. According to www.imdb.com, Treasure Planet was released in the US on 27 November 2002, Lilo and Stitch was released in the US on 21 June 2002, and no animated film produced by Walt Disney Pictures was released in between.
11. Hugo Riemann first catalogued all the possible triadic progressions in Skizze einer neuen Methode der Harmonielehre (Leipzig: Breitkopf and H�rtel, 1880). In mainstream Hollywood practice, there appear to be intertextual codes for multiple harmonic progressions, some with greater consistency of narrative or visual association than others.
12. William Drabkin, "Tritone," Grove Music Online ed. L. Macy (Accessed 15 June 2005), <http://www.grovemusic.com>
13. Jay Rahn, "Coordination of Interval Sizes in Seven-Tone Collections," Journal of Music Theory 35:1-2 (1991), 36.
14. Matthew Brown, Douglas Dempster and David Headlam, "The #IV/bV Hypothesis: Testing the Limits of Schenker's Theory of Tonality," Music Theory Spectrum 19/2 (1997), 155-183.
15. Ibid, 161.
16. Ibid, 170.
17. Studies that discuss and formalize voice-leading smoothness include Richard Cohn, "Maximally Smooth Cycles, Hexatonic Systems, and the Analysis of Late-Romantic Triadic Progressions," Music Analysis 15 (1996): 9-40; Cohn, "Neo-Riemannian Operations, Parsimonious Trichords, and Their Tonnetz Representations," Journal of Music Theory 41 (1997): 1-46; David Lewin, "Some Ideas About Voice Leading Between Pcsets." Journal of Music Theory 42 (1998), 15-72; and Joseph Straus, "Uniformity, Balance, and Smoothness in Atonal Voice Leading," Music Theory Spectrum 25 (2003), 305-352. Transformational voice leading, which connects notes of different chords in potentially different registers and "voices" using pitch-class transformations, was first proposed in Henry Klumpenhouwer, "A Generalized Model for Voice Leading in Atonal Music," Ph.D. dissertation, Harvard University, 1991, and has been taken up in the work of Straus, including The Music of Ruth Crawford Seeger (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995); "Voice Leading in Atonal Music," in Music Theory in Concept and Practice, ed. James M. Baker, David W. Beach, and Jonathan W. Bernard (Rochester: University of Rochester Press, 1997), 237-74; and "Uniformity, Balance, and Smoothness."
18. The concept of a "voice-leading list" comes from Robert Morris, "Voice-Leading Spaces," Music Theory Spectrum 20/2 (1998), 201.
19. Straus, "Uniformity, Balance, and Smoothness," 320-322.
20. Lewin, "Some Ideas," 27.
21. Footnote 40 of Straus, "Uniformity, Balance, and Smoothness" (321) recognizes that "it would be possible to devise an algorithm for breaking ties (for example, by seeing which voice leading has the greatest number of small intervals or the smallest number of large intervals)," but he does not pursue this line of inquiry any further.
22. Lewin, "Some Ideas," 26.
23. Reinforcing this interpretation is Disney's more recent use of the music from Example 4 during the teaser trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (http://adisney.go.com/disneypictures/narnia/index.html, accessed 4 January 2006). (A trailer's orchestral soundtrack is often composed of excerpts from previous film scores in the studio's library.) The narrative that Howard's music accompanies in the Narnia trailer bears a striking similarity to that during its original use in Treasure Planet. Example 4 begins right when the wardrobe first appears, and continues as Lucy draws toward it and unveils it. Lucy begins to open the wardrobe on the sustained D sharp, and an interjected title completes the statement that "this is the only door that leads to another world." The C- to A+ progression accompanies a long shot of light pouring out from the door of the wardrobe, and Lucy stepping in. The wardrobe, like the planet in the holographic map, is both a means of conveyance to, and symbolically representative of, the journey's destination.
24. The leitmotif is used once during the first stage: a perfect-fifth transposition--G- to E+--can be briefly heard when the previous owner of the orb, after arriving at the inn, divulges that "he's after me chest," referring to his large trunk that contains the orb (0:09:20).
25. Besides its use at these two moments of arrival, the juxtaposition of two major triads a tritone apart is seldom heard elsewhere in the film score. It creeps in at 0:25:29 for four seconds during the preparation for the ship's departure from port, and can be briefly heard during one segment (0:40:26 to 0:40:41) of the black hole sequence, although there is no overt synchronization with an outer-space object. An MTTP is used during two cues (0:58:26 and 1:23:30) for Ben, the loony robot marooned on Treasure Planet; however, it is incorporated into music of a very different nature--scherzo-like, light instrumentation, and a frenetic harmonic rhythm--and is therefore not a token of the MTTP type.
26. Roger Scruton, The Aesthetic Understanding (London: Methuen, 1983); Deryck Cooke, The Language of Music (London and New York: Oxford University Press, 1959).
27. In a more recent critique of Cooke, Scruton concludes: "The crucial relation here is not expression but appropriateness. It is through the constant search for the appropriate gesture that aesthetic conventions emerge. The musical vocabulary discerned by Cooke is the outcome of a long tradition of �making and matching'; and his �rules of meaning' are really habits of taste." Roger Scruton, The Aesthetics of Music (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1997), 208.
28. Robert Hatten, Musical Meaning in Beethoven (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994), 31-32.
29. 0:02:07: The beginning of Max's voice-over "It was Freak who told me about King Arthur," followed by a cut to knights of the round table; 0:28:35: The two boys stand up to someone who is ill treating a woman "Unhand her, knave," followed by a cut to an image of knight on horseback; 0:41:54: The two boys are drawn to a full suit of armor in a museum's Medieval display; 1:11:55: After Kevin's sledding scene, he sees a vision of Medieval knights on horseback; 1:17:19: When Kevin bursts in to rescue Max, "I've come for my brother in arms"; 1:33:00: Max reads the very end of Sir James Knowles' King Arthur and his Knights. There are other moments in the film when we see Medieval images without the MTTP, and when we hear the MTTP without overt Medieval references. However, in the one case of the latter--when the two boys score a slam dunk in basketball--Jones's use of the progression is clearly strategic: the music demonstrates how the two boys have assumed their heroic knightly roles.
30. This strategic combination of the MTTP type with the Medieval era as a separate domain from present day also appears throughout Brian Tyler's score for Timeline (2003).
End of footnotes