Film Music In Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho

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Film music is used to accompany the story line of a film and helps to create the world of the film in a sonic sense that will affect the viewer subconsciously. It is a defining element in the ambience of a film’s atmosphere, capable of turning a situation from sedentary to tense in a single chord change. It provides a sonic narrative of the plot development, normally moving to different themes and suites for different scenes. People can hear a melody or a movement from their favourite film and immediately be taken back to the palpable emotions conveyed in the exact scene by the culmination of music and action. Often the use of a reprise can remind the viewer of action that took place earlier when the same music was played. Film music is divided …show more content…
It centres on her murder and the attempts of others to identify her attacker. Professor John Butt’s seminar deals with the work of director Alfred Hitchcock and composer Bernard Herrmann to bring the thriller Psycho to life. Hitchcock primarily wanted all scenes set in the motel, including the famous shower scene to run without music but decided against this once hearing Herrmann’s compositions. Unusually, the instrumentation of the score consists solely of the string section of the orchestra, which was a compositional idea of Herrmann’s to use the high pitched timbre of the strings to construct an eerie setting. Hitchcock is associated with suspense in his directorial and producing styles …show more content…
He made storyboards for each cut from every camera angle and theoretically edits the film before he begins to shoot it. This limited the actor’s potential as they had to follow Hitchcock’s plans exactly. Hitchock uses absolute music here. Butt states music critic Eduard Hanslick supported the theory of absolute music that Hitchcock also used and explained that it employed the idea that music does not need to convey a particular meaning but can be appreciated simply for its sonic cohesiveness. Hanslick claims that emotions cannot be created in music but can be aroused by the intricate awareness of tension and release patterns that evoke feelings in the listener, creating an apprehensive setting. Butt adds that the lack of meaning in Psycho is provided to entice viewers to create their own interpretation. The structuring of Psycho is a semblance of classical music forms. Butt informs his listeners that Psycho employs a dissonance of structure and narrative, and plays on this interaction to create drama. The film is split into two halves – Marion’s story and the aftermath, being the first of many binaries used throughout the film. Marion and Norman act as a character binary and of one of the movie’s most palpable binaries: good versus bad. Butt reminds the audience that these binaries are reminiscent of musical structures such as the two subjects found in sonata form. Hitchcock uses visual binaries of horizontal and vertical

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