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Armando Trovajoli, Le canard a l’orange. The Italian School of Film Music

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Leggi in Italiano

[Monday Notes n.52] Armando Trovajoli was a great interpreter of the Italian school of film music. In his music he gathers ideas and suggestions from different musical genres: from string orchestra to rock, from South American music to jazz. Let's analyze the main theme of the movie Le canard a l'orange.

Armando Trovajoli's compositions have wide themes, mainly in major keys and with a remarkable use of Maj7 and 7sus4 chords, which give the music great spaciousness and lightness.

In the theme for Le canard a l'orange, Armando Trovajoli shows that he has assimilated music from different traditions and latitudes. The theme is a jazz waltz and also the harmonic solutions are jazzy.

The chromatic progression in measures 27-30 and the movement of the second voices within the chords (e.g. in measures 39-40, 51-52) make one think of bossa nova.

Also very interesting is the use of the pedal, present at bars 1-10, 19-26, 31-36 and again in the ending, where the melody lingers on the dominant chord at bars 54-58.

Armando Trovajoli tema da "L'anatra all'arancia"
Armando Trovajoli, main theme for "Le canard a l'orange"

In his compositions Armando Trovajoli treats the musical material with simplicity and naturalness, almost concealing his great skill. The music is never intrusive or showy, it supports the film it accompanies with kindness and generosity.

In the film Le canard a l'orange the protagonist (Monica Vitti) confesses to her husband (played by a great Ugo Tognazzi) that she has a lover. While telling what tenderness and care he is capable of, the woman puts a record, absent-mindedly. The husband scolds her: "Very delicate to put our record as a background…".

The artifice of the "soundtrack" is therefore revealed and underlined, this passage of the film is also a tribute to the splendid theme of Le canard a l'orange and to the musician who composed it: Armando Trovajoli.

Until next Monday!

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