Film Language Tag: leitmotif (sound)

Term derived from nineteenth-century opera and applied to film music; when a musical theme (usually short) is developed (varied, reorchestrated) within a film, the theme acquires some of the properties of a word or symbol, with independent meaning or associations that can be called up when the theme is repeated. The signification of a leitmotif is specific to a particular film (or set of films) and is opposed in that sense to the musical topic, whose signification is more general. Leitmotifs are often also musical topics. Buhler, James and David Neumeyer. Hearing the Movies: Music and Sound in Film History. Oxford UP, 2015.


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