Analytical Essay on the Score of Psycho

Analytical Essay on the Score of Psycho

Length: 884 words (2.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

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 ...


* 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

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Dualism in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Essay

- The characters in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) each have a dual nature that is masterfully portrayed through character development and use of mirrors throughout the film. The very first shot in Psycho is zooming in from an open view of the city where it is a bright and sunny day. As the shot zooms in further and further it comes into a dark and shaded room that shows Marion Crane (Janet Leigh) and Sam Loomis (John Gavin) having an affair in a undisclosed hotel. This is dualistic image is just one example of many that Hitchcock has placed in this film....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
1468 words (4.2 pages)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Essay

- Alfred Hitchcock’s film “Psycho” created a tremendous impact on 60’s American films. Hitchcock powerfully describes the murder scene of Marion, while taking a shower at Bates Motel. Viewers and critics of the film believe that it is unconventional and overly violent for young viewers eyes, but some analysts think that it is a form of deconstruction, a new structure of horror film that Hitchcock wants to share. Different perspectives and ideas emerge because of the murder scene in the film, but still, Psycho is viewed by millions of moviegoers who want to experience the morbid description of Hitchcock—for them to believe the critics and viewers’ negative reactions....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
977 words (2.8 pages)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Essays

- In 1960 one black and white movie shocked us all. This movie attacked our minds and our hearts in one of the most vulnerable places in what is considered to be one of the greatest and most epic scenes of all time. Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho made women and even some men afraid take a shower. This movie was the first of its kind and gave birth to a whole new genre of movies, the slasher film. Without this movie Freddie Kruger, Jason, Michael, Leatherface, and all of the other psycho killers would cease to exist....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
2148 words (6.1 pages)

The Lasting Impact of Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho Essay

- The 1960s film Psycho directed by Alfred Hitchcock was groundbreaking and continues to influence film making to this day. The film has been credited as being the foundation for modern day horror films and launching the “slasher” sub-genre. Alfred Hitchcock was known as the master of suspense which definitely proved to be true through all of his movies, especially his most influential film, Psycho, which surprised the audience with shocking bursts of violence and provocative sexual explicitness thus changing cinema forever....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
1258 words (3.6 pages)

The Doppelganger Character in Psycho, North by Northwest and Vertigo Essays

- Double or nothing. Filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock believed having a double persona in his movies made them twice as suspenseful. The motif of doubling characters is common in the Hitchcock films Psycho, North by Northwest and Vertigo; each film uses the doppelganger technique of portraying figures in the film as a double or second self. In literature, the doppelganger character is often presented as a twin, a shadow or mirror image of the central character. The doppelganger figure characteristically appears as an identical closely resembling the protagonist....   [tags: Psycho, North by Northwest, Vertigo]

Better Essays
1196 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Hitchcock’s Psycho and Phoenix. James’ The Turn of the Screw

- The human body and mind are the most complex and intricate tools known to man. The connection between the two are remarkable, the way body feels pain and the mind is able to understand from where and how the pain is being formed, the way the body lags and drops when the mind does not have enough sleep and rest. Most curiously, it is the way our body and mind speak to each other without really knowing. It is the uncomfortable feeling in your chest, the tenseness of your shoulders and the goose-bumps on your arms that are the very basics of human intuition....   [tags: Psycho, The Turn of the Screw]

Better Essays
1560 words (4.5 pages)

Essay on Alfred Hitchcock’s Rhetorical Use of the Camera in Psycho

- Alfred Hitchcock manipulates the camera to draw the attention of the audience, in the 1960’s thriller, Psycho. The credits abruptly appear on the screen, as though the lines are stabbing at something. The words are white text against a plain black background. This symbolises the dark being the dominant colour, but still creates a visual binary opposition. The word ‘Psycho’ is contorted and indecipherable, having been displayed over more than one of the horizontal lines foreshadowing the confusion later on in the film....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
639 words (1.8 pages)

Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho: The Story of Norman Bates Essay

- Throughout cinema, there has always been space in our hearts for the gore and intrigue that come from horror films. Though they come with different plots, there remains “the monster”, the character that brings along disgust, horror, suspense, and even sympathy. In Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960), our monster is Norman Bates, the boy next door. This was one of the first times in American cinema that the killer was brought home, paving the way for the future of horror movies. According to Robin Wood in “An Introduction to the America Horror Film” (183-208), Bates follows the formula of the Monster being a human psychotic....   [tags: Psycho Film Analysis]

Better Essays
1189 words (3.4 pages)

Essay on Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock

- Psycho by Alfred Hitchcock      A running theme that is presented to the audience in Psycho is the opposition that exists between good and evil. This is shown throughout the movie among the different characters. Examples can also be taken from conflicts within the characters. Certain conflicts and how the characters deal with them and each other are what shape the structure of the movie. The perception that the audience receives of the characters change throughout the movie by the different conflicts that arise....   [tags: Psycho Alfred Hitchcock Essays]

Better Essays
1963 words (5.6 pages)

Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho Essay

- Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho      Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho has been commended for forming the archetypical basis of all horror films that followed its 1960 release. The mass appeal that Psycho has maintained for over three decades can undoubtedly be attributed to its universality. In Psycho, Hitchcock allows the audience to become a subjective character within the plot to enhance the film's psychological effects for an audience that is forced to recognise its own neurosis and psychological inadequacies as it is compelled to identify, for varying lengths of time, with the contrasting personalities of the film's main characters....   [tags: Film Films Movie Movies Psycho Essays]

Free Essays
1446 words (4.1 pages)