- article: Film Form and Musical Form in Bernard Herrmann's Score to "Vertigo"
- author(s): David Cooper
- journal: The Journal of Film Music (2003)
- issue: volume 1, issue 2-3, pages 239-248
- journal ISSN: 1087-7142
- publisher: The International Film Music Society, USA
- keywords: Academy Awards, Alfred Hitchcock, American cinema, Bernard Herrmann, Chicago, Illinois, Composers, Compositional structure, Criticism, David Neumeyer, Dialogue, Editing, Feature films, Film (Music), Film (Productions), Film (USA), Film Scores, Film directors, Film scores, Films, Gough Street, San Francisco, California, Hollywood Films, Lighting, Mission Dolores Church and Cemetery, San Francisco, California, Montgomery Street, San Francisco, California, Music and Other Literary/Performing/Visual Arts, Narrative, Narrative Techniques, New York City, New York, Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco, California, Popular Music, San Francisco, California, Sets and Set Pieces, Sound Design, The Trouble with Harry (1955), Theory/Analysis/Composition, Thrillers, Torn Curtain (1966), Vertigo (1958), William H. Rosar
Cooper considers several of the ways in which the musical form of Bernard Herrmann's score for the 1958 Alfred Hitchcock motion picture "Vertigo" actively participated in the cinematic narrative. Cooper regards a film's narrative as the cumulative outcome of all of its elements - dialogue, visual action, set, camerawork, lighting, editing, sound design, and score - with each making a contribution to the film's overall discourse. Assessed in this context, Herrmann's score for "Vertigo" employs parallel, yet finely differentiated musical passages that subtly correspond with changes in the narrative, thus enhancing the overall impact of the movie's suspense. Specific passages of the score are analyzed in detail.