Anyways, Christopher Nolan just loves this. With longtime collaborator Hans Zimmer, the acclaimed director has used a Shepard tone in almost every one of his films in the last decade. He even writes his scripts to match the effect. In a recent interview, Nolan explained how he used Shepard tones in his newest film, Dunkirk:

The screenplay had been written according to musical principals. There’s an audio illusion, if you will, in music called a “Shepard tone” and with my composer David Julyan on “The Prestige” we explored that and based a lot of the score around that. And it’s an illusion where there’s a continuing ascension of tone. It’s a corkscrew effect. It’s always going up and up and up but it never goes outside of its range. And I wrote the script according to that principle. I interwove the three timelines in such a way that there’s a continual feeling of intensity. Increasing intensity. So I wanted to build the music on similar mathematical principals.

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Knowing this, you gain a deeper understanding of films like Interstellar, Inception, and The Prestige. It also explains why these films seem somehow inconclusive. A Shepard’s tone creates a conflict that can’t be resolved, just like Nolan’s plots.

[Digg, Business Insider]