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Analytical Essay on the Score of Psycho

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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). He ended his partnership with Hitchcock
after the latter rejected his score for Torn Curtain (1966) on studio
advice. His last score was for Martin Scorsese's Taxi Driver (1976),
and he died just hours after recording it.

Bernard Herrmann is one of the most important film composers of the
20th century. He was one of the key figures in creating the genre of
film music. He developed a musical language that was ideally suited to
easily fitting to varying lengths of scene.

On the other hand, made strong use of short repeated rhythmic phrases
and ostinati. These could be readily repeated to fit the length of a
scene and provided a feeli...


... middle of paper ...


...avid
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

* CapeFear- 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



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