Music ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-16-2020


Wonder and awe are often considered to be synonyms. But though these emotions are similar, a more nuanced look at their musical representations reveals that they are not entirely the same. This thesis examines the difference between musical wonder and awe in music from The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, a 2005 film about siblings who find a magical world in a wardrobe. After a review of the literature on musical wonder, the music from two scenes is analyzed. The wardrobe scene, in which the youngest child discovers the land of Narnia, depicts wonder visually. Certain musical characteristics, both harmonic transformations and non-harmonic factors, correspond with this visual representation. The other scene analyzed is the battle scene, in which the children fight against the army of the evil White Witch. Visually, this scene is more complex and represents a variety of emotions, including power, fear, and awe. Again, both harmonic and non-harmonic factors contribute to a musical cuing of awe. This research finds that, in music from this movie, a major difference between wonder and awe is a difference in scope.

Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Music

First Committee Member (Chair)

David Bashwiner

Second Committee Member

Kimberly Fredenburgh

Third Committee Member

Peter Gilbert




emotion, wonder, awe, film music, transformational theory, neo-Riemannian theory

Document Type


Included in

Music Theory Commons