SMT-V 10.2, "Dual Leading-Tone Loops in Recent Television Dramas" by Brad Osborn is now available at

two screenshots of Serena from Handmaid's Tale


In this video I highlight a trend in recent television dramas in which characters’ conflicting emotions are scored using short chord loops that contain leading tones for major and relative minor keys simultaneously. These harmonic structures, which I dub dual leading-tone loops, present an eight-pitch-class palette (e.g. ABCDEFGG♯) over a looping progression, and thus exert a strong tonal pull toward both a major key and its relative minor in short succession. Dual leading-tone loops are a particular subset of what scholars have identified as a “double tonic complex,” but in this case the two paired keys shuttle back and forth over a matter of seconds.

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