Bernard Herrmann - Psycho (Melody (Semitone melody - Steiner motif (Viola,…
Bernard Herrmann - Psycho
Harmony & Tonality
Frequent use of tritones
Idea 3 of 'Prelude'
Vertigo - Habanera theme - tritone - Dm to Ab/D
Elfman - Batman Returns - 'Batman vs the Circus' e.g. bar 74 aug 4th in sustained chords
'The Murder', 'Discovery' and 'Finale' - Atonal
'The Toys' - not rooted in a key, highly chromatic
'The City' - chromatic, dissonant tonality
'The Cellar' dissonant harmony creates atonal effect
Portman - '...Opening titles' - avoids conventional functional harmonic progressions and traditional cadences - gives effect of non-functional harmony at times
Hitchcock chord (min chord with maj 7th)
Bbmmaj7th opens 'Prelude' in 2nd inv
End of 'Marion'
Vertigo - frequent use of Hitchcock chords in opening titles
Vertigo - Vertigo chord - bitonal (2 triads a semitone apart) - blurs sense of key e.g. when scottie slips in opening chase
'Marion' - more conventional harmony, despite being based on a descending chromatic scale
Rhythm & Metre
Continuous ostinato figures
Idea 2 'Prelude'
'Discovery' - use of cross-rhythms/polyrhythm
Vertigo - Scottie's nightmare - ostinato figures
Portman, The Duchess - abundant use of ostinato e.g. in opening/ending titles accompaniment
Main idea of 'Marion'
Syncopated repeated quaver Hitchcock chords in opening of 'Prelude'
'Finale' - syncopated idea in violas
Portman - '...Opening titles' - some syncopation in the accompaniment
'The City' - Simple Quadruple
'The Cellar' - Simple Duple
Portman, The Duchess - '...Opening titles' - 4/4 metre but sounds 2 minim beats per bar
'The Murder' - Molto forzando e feroce
Contrast - 'The Toys' - crotchet=54
Contrast - Portman - 'Mistake of your Life' - slow tempo - crotchet = 69
Idea 4 of 'Prelude' aka Herrmann's 'Psycho Theme'
Vertigo - Madeleine's theme - lyrical melody with no sense of resolution
'The City' - opening melodic idea - descending chordal shapes
Semitone melody - Steiner motif
Viola, open of 'Prelude'
Verticalisation of Steiner motif - F/E dissonance in Viola, Cello and Double Bass in 'The Toys'
'The Murder' - semitone motif inverted and used to build cluster chords at beginning
Motif extended to create descending chromatic scales - 'Discovery'
Vertigo - Habanera theme - Ebm/D dissonance
Use of motifs - Penguin and Batman themes - Batman Returns, Elfman
Portman - The Duchess - 'The Duchess (Opening)' and 'The Duchess (End Titles)' - Themes A, B and C
'Marion' - descending sequential 3-note pattern with rising and falling P5ths
'The Cellar' - 8 bar subject with use of sequence and melodic inversions/retrogrades
'Finale' - 3-note 'Madness' motif
Vertigo - Madeleine and Habanera themes
Portman, The Duchess - 'Mistake of your Life' - Theme B - extended by descending sequence
is a psychological horror-thriller first released in 1960 and was one of seven collaborations between Herrmann and Hitchcock from 1956 to 1966 which also include
North by Northwest
The story follows a young woman called 'Marion' who steals $40,000 from her employer, takes refuge at the Bates Motel and is murdered by the psychotic Norman Bates, who is obsessed with his dead mother.
Bernard Herrmann (1911-1975) was an American composer whose works primarily consisted of compositions for motion pictures.
He was born in New York City and is best known for his collaborations with Alfred Hitchcock
The film is in black and white (which is unusual for the time) so Herrmann matches this with what he called 'black and white music' by using only strings.
Opening of 'Prelude' - Hitchcock chords - staccato with accents, mute and down-bow
Idea 3 of 'Prelude' - syncopated Double Bass, accented and pizzicato contrasts arco
Only strings - 'black and white music'
'The Murder' - Extremely high range, glissando,
, down-bow without mute
tutti con sordini
except for 'The Murder'
Vertigo - mutes in Madeleine's theme
Vertigo - Rapid glissandi in harp
CONTRAST - Vertigo - orchestral instrumentation
Portman - 'Six Years Later' - opens with pizzicato strings
Structure & Form
'Prelude' - based on 4 musical ideas
1 - Hitchcock chords; 2 - continuous ostinato figures; 3 - homophonic w/ tritons; 4 - lyrical 'Psycho theme'
Vertigo - based on various themes: Hitchcock chords; Vertigo chord; and the Madeleine and Habanera themes
Portman, The Duchess - 'The Duchess (Opening and Ending titles)' - based on themes A, B and C
Fugal structure - 'The Cellar'
AABA 'Marion' - based on 4-bar phrases
'The City' - built around repetitions and variations of the opening melodic idea
'The Toys' - based on 3-bar phrases
'Discovery' - built around repetitive rhythmic idea
Throughout 'The City'
'Prelude' - homophonic idea 3
Vertigo chords played homophonically
Vertigo - Mel dom hom - prelude and Habanera theme
'The Cellar' - fugal, contrapuntal texture
'Finale' - opens with 3-part polyphony
Vertigo - evidence of contrapuntal texture in the chase scene and the tower scene
Elfman - Batman Returns - 'Batman vs the Circus' - layers of ostinato often create polyphonic texture
'Marion' - During Marion and Sam's meeting in the hotel
'The Murder' - notorious shower scene, in which Marion is stabbed to death
'The City' - camera pans over Phoenix and down into hotel bedroom where lovers Marion and Sam are meeting are secret
'The Toys' - Sam and Lila have gone to the Bates' Motel to look for Marion, Lila's sister - Lila is exploring Bates' room and finds the toys
'Prelude' - title sequence
'The Cellar' - Lila sees Bates approaching and hides in the cellar
'Discovery' - In the cellar, Lila discovers the body of Bates' mother
'Finale' - End of the film, Bates is sitting in the police station