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The Journal of Film Music (2003) - Film Form and Musical Form in Bernard Herrmann's Score to "Vertigo"




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.