Exploring Leitmotifs, From Wagner To ‘Gone With The Wind’ | WABE 90.1 FM

Exploring Leitmotifs, From Wagner To ‘Gone With The Wind’

Sep 22, 2015

Richard Wagner is considered the father of the leitmotif, which sprung from his German Romantic operas.
Credit Pierre Petit / Wikimedia Commons

The leitmotif is a theme or other coherent musical idea that represents a character, place, object, idea or other supernatural force.

These can be found in operas, musicals, movies, television shows, video games and even symphonic classical music.

This technique has its origins in German Romantic Opera, specifically with the music of composer Richard Wagner.

On “City Lights,” contributor Scott Stewart and host Lois Reitzes discuss the leitmotif technique, and some of their examples include famous themes in Hollywood soundtracks, among them “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” “King Kong,” “Lord of the Rings” and “Gone with the Wind.”

“Composers have taken their cue from Wagner and other Romantics and continue to weave leitmotifs in and out of movies, TV and video games that bring even more impact to viewers and gamers,” Stewart said.