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Analytical Essay on the score of Psycho.

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Introduction

Analytical Essay on the score of Psycho The man behind the low woodwinds that opens Citizen Kane and the 'high pitched violins' of Psycho (1960). Bernard Herrmann was one of the most original and distinctive composers ever to work in film. He started early, winning a composition prize at 13 and founding his own orchestra at 20. After writing scores for Orson Welles' radio shows in the 1930s (including the notorious 1938 'War of the Worlds' broadcast), he was the obvious choice to score Welles' film debut, Citizen Kane (1941), and subsequently Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942), though he removed his name from the latter after additional music was added without his (or Welles') consent when the film was mutilated by a panic-stricken studio. Herrmann was a prolific film composer, producing his most memorable work for Alfred Hitchcock, for whom he wrote nine scores. He ignored the directors instructions - like Hitchcock's suggestion that Psycho (1960) have a jazz score and no music in the shower scene). ...read more.

Middle

At times, he deliberately limits his palette, as in Psycho. At other times, he calls on highly unusual forces as in (his unused music to) Marnie. The film score did not need to tie itself to the forces of the 19th century symphony orchestra. It also did not have to follow the constraints of an acoustic performance. Some instruments could be 'miked up' and others 'miked down'. This added a new tool for the orchestrator. However, it was a tool he used sparingly. His musical style was bold and direct, yet certainly not typical of the day. Rather than full-blown themes, his talent was to select and develop simple mottos such as those high-pitched Psycho violins or in Vertigo those augmented chord arpeggios that seemed to encapsulate the whole concept of the movie. The orchestration also tended to be unusual but again tailored perfectly to the particular need. Psycho used strings only, which seemed to match the black and white photography. The orchestration for that rejected score for Torn Curtain was played using large numbers of flutes, horns and trombones. ...read more.

Conclusion

Day sings the song "Que Sera Sera" by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans, and there's an appearance by Bernard Herrmann himself as the Conductor for the concert scene * The 7th Voyage of Sinbad * Vertigo - reused on a recent car advert in the UK with David Duchovny * Journey to the Centre of the Earth * North by Northwest - instantly recognisable and very atmospheric * Psycho - famous for the screaming strings in the shower scene, but the tension really mounts during the car journey through the rain * The Three Worlds of Gulliver * Mysterious Island * Cape Fear - the original and the remake as used by Elmer Bernstein. * The Birds - Herrmann is a musical consultant on this, the bird noises described as "sound construction" created using an early electronic instrument * Jason and the Argonauts * Marnie * Fahrenheit 451 - strings and tuned percussion and a wonderfully surreal fire-engine sequence * It's Alive 1, 2, 3 (posthumously) * Taxi Driver - his last score and highly recommended Analytical Essay about the score of Psycho Hubertus Dahlem ...read more.

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