How Is Music Used In Vertigo

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Music and AV Media – Film Music Analysis: Vertigo Alfred Hitchcock’s 1958 film Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1957) is an American psychological thriller film, based on the 1954 novel D’entre les Mortes by Boileau-Narcejac. Bernard Herrmann’s music for the film, written over the course of just six weeks, is a prime example of his skilful ability in exploring the concepts of a film through music. The protagonist of Vertigo, is Scottie Ferguson, a newly retired detective, who leaves the police force after witnessing the traumatic death of a police officer, that triggers a severe, and seemingly permanent condition of Acrophobia. The film follows his relationship with Madeleine - the wife of an old friend - whom is seemingly convinced that she is the reincarnation of her Great Grandmother, Carlotta. There is use of both diegetic and non-diegetic music in Vertigo, all of which were left to Herrmann to decide and either compose or source. The use of diegetic music in the score for Vertigo…show more content…
The first instance of diegetic music comes immediately after the opening sequence, and provides a direct contrast between the excited, agitated music of the previous scene and the softness of J. C. Bach’s Andante con Sordini, the second movement of the Sinfonia in Eb Major. The screenplay itself, written by Alec Coppel and Samuel Taylor, includes this indication for music, but it is clear that Herrmann does not follow this instruction to the letter: ‘Up to this moment, the background music has had an excitement to match the scene, and now it cuts off abruptly … then, in the dissolve, we hear the soft insistence of Scarlatti played by a chamber orchestra.’ (Coppel et al. 1957). Interesting about this particular choice of music, is the confusion amongst academics

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