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The Letter (1940)


Home > Film: The Letter > Theme: Glass Curtains > Instance: 0:59:08


Instance
Theme name: Glass Curtains
Start time: 0:59:08
End time: 1:00:13
Total duration: 0:01:05
Page #: 112
Measure #: 1
Scene: Reel 8 Part 2
Key: chromatic (C)
Meter: 2/4
Tempo (bpm): 56
Marking: Modto
Instrumentation: special group
Solo Instrument: celeste



(click to enlarge)
Description
Description: Steiner augments the tinkling sounds of the glass curtain with murmuring ostinati on celesta, piano, gongs, novachord, woodwinds, and vibraphones; the exotic mood becomes more ominous as a deep pedal is added under the tinkling music, with a quiet stinger as Mrs. Hammond passes through the curtains
On-screen: Mrs. Hammond enters through the glass curtain
Music annotations: [m. 1] effect sheet / repeat ad lib / f / pedals down / mf; [m. 3] Continue bells piano celeste ad lib until stopped by me! / andte mysterioso; [m. 6] bells etc. still continue / simile / watch / sord / Hugo! I've ordered all the instruments we need! - its o.k.
Film annotations: [m. 3] Her fringe gets parted; [m. 4] She starts forward; [m. 6] Leslie gets up
Orchestration annotations: [m. 1] 1st celeste (Norma) / 2nd celeste (Seidenberg) / 1st piano (Klatzkin) / 2nd piano (Phil Score) / Bali bells (Frank) / small bells (George) / vibraphone (Charlie), hard stick / 2nd vibraphone, soft stick / Bourdeau; [m. 3] large gong; [m. 4] 2 flts / 2 oboes / 2 clar / 2 horns muted / 2 horns open / Novachord; [m. 6] W.W. / vibraphone / sneak in basses, celli, violas; [m. 7] Novachord
Analysis: The glass curtains effect involves multiple layers of layers activity in the manner of Stravinsky; there are 12 layers; 8 of the layers are 1-measure ostinatos, 3 are 2-measure ostinatos, and one is a 2-measure pedal tone; rhythmic activity varies from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 to 6 to 8 attacks per beat; pitch content is either chromatic, diatonic, pentatonic, or whole tone, with a sustained [016] pedal with a tonal center on C in the lowest voice; the chromatic density is high, with a tritone cluster [0123456] on the downbeat of beat 1 and a 10-note cluster [012345789T] on the downbeat of beat 2 for each measure; there is some mirroring and parallelism in the second celesta part, but mostly the layers are all very distinct; a shift at the end (when Mrs. Hammond enters) features two (016) sonorities a half-step apart--creating a (012379) sonority.
Tags

antagonist | Chinatown | Chinese | chromatic scale | conflict | curtain | entering | glass | lawyer | layering | leading lady | mirroring | mysterious | ostinato | parallelism | pc set | polyrhythm | shop | staring | tense | tinkling | tone cluster | waiting | whole-tone | whole-tone chord

Media