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School of Music

BYU to Digitize Iconic Film Scores

Movie Music Maestro Max Steiner’s Scores Now More Accessible at Harold B. Lee Library

Composing over 300 film scores—including the 1930s classics King Kong and Gone with the Wind—won Max Steiner the title “the father of film scoring,” says music-theory professor Brent T. Yorgason.

But until recently, studying Steiner has been limited to visiting the Harold B. Lee Library’s Special Collections, where his original scores—handwritten in a notation not performable for modern orchestras—are stored.

Now, thanks to efforts at BYU, Steiner’s work is becoming more accessible. Since 2016 Yorgason, music-catalog librarian Jeffrey W. Lyon, and a slew of music students have been transcribing Steiner’s scores into digital notation on a public, online database. “This is the first time,” Lyon says, that Steiner’s works have been cataloged and analyzed “in this level of detail.”

Read the full Y Magazine article by Miriam Brantley Merrill here.

Photo Courtesy L. Tom Perry Special Collections.