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Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)

Home > Film: Arsenic and Old Lace > Theme: Underscoring (Dramatic) > Instance: 1:01:21

Theme name: Underscoring (Dramatic)
Borrowed from: Crime School (1938)
Start time: 1:01:21
End time: 1:01:40
Total duration: 0:00:19
Page #: 83
Measure #: 1
Scene: Reel 6 Part 3A
Key: unstable
Meter: 4/4
Tempo (bpm): 144
Marking: Molto agitato
Instrumentation: orchestra

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Description: Suspenseful music, building up in a crescendo; his cue is borrowed from Crime School
On-screen: They take Elaine into the cellar
Music annotations: [m. 1] Cue: X X X / molto agitato / sordini; [m. 2] come sopra Reel 8 Part 4 "Crime School!" orig key; [m. 8] rall; [m. 9] fix [caesura]! no tie overs!
Film annotations: [m. 1] Door slams; [m. 8] Whats the matter?
Orchestration annotations: [m. 1] brass muted (and felts)
Analysis: This dramatic cue features many sequences, rising by whole steps through Bb7(b9) to C7(b9) and D7(b9), then shifting to another pattern that oscillates between diminished 7th chords (still rising by whole steps); there is some metric dissonance as the overlapping patterns repeat at different rates; for example, in m. 6, the patterns repeat twice per measure in the top layer, then 6 times per measure, 4 times per measure, and once per measure; the cue ends with a C#7(b9) chord

9th chord | aunt | bride | brother | chromatic scale | conflict | crazy person | darkness | diminished 7th chord | doctor | dramatic | fear | fighting | gagging | harmonic sequence | leading lady | leading man | metric dissonance | murderer | oscillation | room | running | self-borrowing | struggling | suspenseful | underscoring