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The Letter (1940)

Home > Film: The Letter > Theme: Native > Instance: 0:01:21

Theme name: Native
Start time: 0:01:21
End time: 0:02:16
Total duration: 0:00:55
Page #: 5
Measure #: 1
Scene: Reel 1 Part 2
Key: a dorian
Meter: 3/4
Tempo (bpm): 76
Marking: Molto Modto
Instrumentation: special group
Solo Instrument: English horn

(click to enlarge)
Description: Indonesian gamelan-style music is played under the scene to establish the Southeast-Asian location for the film, with a simple double-reed melody over a steady drum beat and various gong-like instruments (or bells); onscreen we see a reed player and drummer; the drummer's hand actions move in tempo with Steiner's music; we do not see anyone playing gamelan instruments; music goes out with an unexpected gun shot
On-screen: Men sleeping in hammocks
Music annotations: [m. 1] mp; [m. 4] This is the "Me-Layem" orchestra - with a slight "overlap"!!! / "Moe"rendo
Film annotations: [m. 1] Tempo track
Orchestration annotations: [m. 1] str div + celeste / cell / basses (piano); [m. 3] finger cymbals / 2 tomtoms (or timps) (also finger cymbals) / 4 drummers / one on gong; [m. 5] Cymbaloum [cimbalom] (or harp with paper) / marimba or Bali Bells (Frank is trying to get them); [m. 7] E.H. (Cue in alto flute, but give it to Bergh!)
Analysis: Pentatonic melodies with recurring melodic cells; harmonized with quintal chords

Dorian mode | dripping | establish location | exoticism | gamelan | gunshot | Indonesian music | melodic cell | mysterious | native | on-screen music | panning shot | pentatonic | plantation | playing music | quintal chord | setting | Singapore | sleeping