Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

A Pop Music Progression in Recent Popular Movies and Movie Trailers

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2014), 8, (2), 141–162.

Abstract

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 from the same time period. This progression has become associated with heroic characters, events, and honours in these movies, and associated with a hero-centred climax in the narratives of the movies advertised in these trailers. Intersections among music theory, network theory, and film theory offer one rationale for this association in the form of a homology, in which the musical structure of the chord progression, and the narrative structure with which the progression is associated, each centrally situates a fundamental opposition.

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Murphy, Scott