This paper was originally read at the NAHE Association meeting, San Francisco, March 2, 2007 and at the

Mid-So th American M sicological Society!M sic Theory Society Mega-"on#erence at the $ni%ersity o# &eorgia 'Athens(, March )*, 2007+ The reprint ,elow comes #rom o# an article p ,lished in a special iss e o# Interdisciplinary Humanities entitled -M sic in "onte.t,/ Fall, 2000+ 1ermission to reprod ce the

m sical e.amples is pro%ided ,y the copyright holder2 Psycho (Prelude) Psycho (The Murder) M sic ,y 3ernard Herrmann "opyright 4 )0*0, )0*) Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77" "opyright 8enewed All 8ights Administered ,y Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77", 9 M sic S: are ;est, Nash%ille, TN <720< =nternational "opyright Sec red All 8ights 8eser%ed

Transformation of “The Psycho Theme” in Bernard’s Herrmann’s Music for Psycho1 Stephen H sari> University of Arkansas – Fort Smith Al#red Hitchcoc>?s Psycho has ,ecome one o# the most cele,rated American #ilms in its genre and 3ernard Herrmann?s m sic #or the #ilm contains an e: ally cele,rated m sical icon!the slasher music—that has ,ecome a ni%ersal moti# #or all slasher #ilms+ The roots o# this slasher music are #o nd in a t ne called -The 1sycho Theme/ 'a la,el gi%en to it in the c e sheets (2 that has ,een largely ignored o%er the years+< This paper ill strates how the -The 1sycho Theme/ is trans#ormed thro gho t Psycho and how it degenerates into the most #amo s icon in the history o# #ilm m sic+ =n addition, a rationale is o##ered to e.plain the shi#t #rom tonal to atonal m sic o%er the co rse o# this #ilm+ 3e#ore e.amining %ario s str ct res o# 3ernard Herrmann?s m sical score, let s place ,oth the story and m sic o# Psycho within a dramatic conte.t+ 8aymond @ rgnat o##ers a hal# doAen ways to analyAe the dramatic action o# Psycho in A Long Hard Look at Psycho! ? , t ca tions that -detecting some Bdeep str ct re? in Psycho is haAardo s, sinceCthe symmetries and %ariations in Hitchcoc>?s story patterns accommodate a wide %ariety o# ideas and idea systemsC+/D He ma>es a point not to disco rage alternati%e interpretations, howe%er, and presents the -Mythological/ 'Ancient &ree>( model as one possi,ility+ Since the traditional str ct re o# Ancient &ree> tragedy o##ers so many ne.pected and tho ght-pro%o>ing insights into the character o# Psycho it is a se# l model with which to s pport o r m sical analysis+
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Psycho is sometimes re#erred to as ha%ing two plots2 the #irst is a story a,o t a woman who steals ED0,000 and is m rderedF the second is a,o t a psychotic yo ng man whose ,r tal m rders are nco%ered+ These two stories are com,ined into one tragedy where the hero 'or anti-hero( Norman 3ates is ,ro ght down ,y a com,ination o# his own doing and e.ternal #orces+ =nitially a sympathetic yo ng man, he tries to deal with the pro,lem o# how to maintain his strange world witho t ha%ing anyone disco%er who hid mother is, or what she is p to+ 3ates is a "enopho#e who aims to protect his mother against all pro%ocati%e %isitors to the 3ates Motel, whether attracti%e yo ng women, or detecti%es in search o# missing yo ng women+ His #atal #law is that -he is too m ch a lo%ing son+/ G At the clima. o# the #ilm, dressed in his mother?s clothes, Norman?s psychosis is nco%ered and the a dience, cheated o# necessary in#ormation, is horri#ied ,y who he really is+ =n the a#termath the main character is capt red and, as in a classical tragedy, world order is restored and pro,lems are e.plained away ,y a psychiatrist 'ass ming the role o# deus e" machina$% + The story leading p to and incl ding the m rder o# the #irst %ictim 'Marion "rane( is act ally ,ac>gro nd material that the a dience sho ld >now ,e#ore the drama ,egins+ Material occ rring a#ter her death consists o# the s al Aristotelian elements o# "omplication, "lima. and 8esol tion+ A diagram o# this #ormal arrangement is gi%en ,elow2
EH1IS=T=IN Marion steals ED0J =N"=T=N& =N"=@ENT Marion is senselessly m rdered "IM17="AT=IN =n%estigation o# the m rderF 1sychotic attempts to hide his g ilty -mother/ "7=MAH 1sychotic is disco%ered to ,e his own /mother/ 8ESI7$T=IN 1sychotic is loc>ed pF a psychiatrist e.plains away pro,lemsF ;orld Irder is restored

The #ilm %ersion o# Psycho has an e.tended e.position and inciting incident ,eca se scriptwriter Koseph Ste#ano was nimpressed ,y the original 8o,ert 3loch ,oo>+* He rewrote the #irst three chapters!told originally in #lash,ac> techni: e!and presented Marion "rane in real time dri%ing o## with stolen money+ Ste#ano admitted that he had #ar greater sympathy with the character o# Marion than the main character Norman 3ates, who is descri,ed in the ,oo> as #at, ,alding and an alcoholic+ 7 3y concentrating on the character o# Marion, and attempting to , ild p a dience sympathy with her, Ste#ano?s screenplay e.tends the e.position and inciting incident o# this drama to more than DG min tes ,e#ore her m rder is achie%ed, and the main ,ody o# the drama
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,egins+ "onsidera,le emphasis is placed pon this preliminary portion o# the drama ,y composer 3ernard Herrmann, as well+ Twenty-#i%e o# his D0 total m sical c es are composed #or the e.position and inciting incident, incl ding perhaps the most #amo s m sical icon in #ilm history, the slasher music+ 3e#ore the act al drama ,egins, there#ore, the a dience has heard o%er two thirds o# the m sic #or Psycho+ =n order to coordinate this disc ssion o# drama and m sic, m sical c es #or Psycho are listed ,elow as they appear within the #ilm, 9 and all e.amples are re#erenced to an a dio recording o# the m sic+0 3E8NA8@ HE88MANN2 M$S="A7 "$ES FI8 PS&'H( EH1IS=T=IN )+ 1rel de 2+ The "ity <+ Marion 4. Mari and Sam G+ Temptation *+ Flight 'a( 7. The 1atrol "ar 9+ The "ar 7ot 0+ The 1ac>age )0+ 8ainstorm ))+ Hotel 8oom )2+ The ;indow )<+ The 1arlor )D+ Madho se )G+ 1eephole )*+ 3athroom <2+ First Floor <<+ "a,in )0 <D+ "a,in ) <G+ The Hill <*+ 3edroom <7+ The Toys <9+ The "ellar =N"=T=N& =N"=@ENT )7+ M rder )9+ 3ody 're%+( )0+ I##ice 20+ " rtain 2)+ ;ater 22+ The "ar 2<+ "lean p 2D+ Swamp 2G+ Search A "7=MAH <0+ @isco%ery 8ESI7$T=IN D0+ Finale

"IM17="AT=IN 2*+ The Shadow 27+ 1hone 3ooth 29+ The 1orch 20+ The Stairs <0+ The Jni#e <)+ Search 3

Herrmann once said that LHitchcoc>M -only #inishes a pict re *0N+ = ha%e to #inish it #or him+/)0 =n the case o# Psycho, Hitchcoc> o,%io sly agreed ,eca se he do ,led Herrmann?s s al #ee 'E<DJ( #or the #ilm!saying that -<<N o# the e##ect o# Psycho was d e to the m sic+/)) There are se%eral ways in which Herrmann achie%ed his #inished e##ect+ To ,egin with, he pro%ides a -1rel de/ ')( to the #ilm that ni#ies the e.position and inciting incident+ Acting as a >ind o# operatic ritornello in the e.position, the m sic is repeated, tr ncated,
M sic in "onte.t )D2

resorted and also contains si. o# the se%en chie# thematic so rces o# m sic in the #ilm+ All o# the themes in the -1rel de/ relate to the character o# Norman 3ates+ Ither themes, occ rring later in the #ilm, are reser%ed #or Marion and -Mother,/ or madness+ The #irst thing heard in the -1rel de/ is an am,ig o s minor-maOor chord sometimes re#erred to in the literat re as -The Hitchcoc> "hord+/ =t certainly does not ,elong to Hitchcoc>, nor it is sed solely in this #ilm, , t its conspic o s placement at the head o# Herrmann?s m sic signals more than O st a #an#areF it is an important #eat re o# the s ,se: ent m sical str ct res 'E.ample ), meas re )(+ The -The Hitchcoc> "hords/ are #ollowed ,y a series o# dri%ing hal#-step #ig res that Fred Steiner identi#ied as the seminal #orce in this m sic+ 'E.ample ), meas re <(+)2 Steiner?s #ig re has ,een compared to the sta,,ing o# a >ni#e ,y Herrmann?s #riend, "hristopher 1almerF #illed with latent possi,ilities #or m sical de%elopment, it was paraphrased ,y Kohn ;illiams in his m sic #or the #ilm -Kaws+/ The hal#-step relation emanating #rom this #ig re is ,oth melodically and harmonically important in s ,se: ent trans#ormations o# the m sical themes+ E.ample )+ Ipening meas res, Psycho! )1rel de+/ M sic ,y 3ernard Herrmann+ "opyright 4 )0*0, )0*) Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77"+ "opyright 8enewed+ All 8ights administered ,y Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77", 9 M sic S: are ;est, Nash%ille, TN <720<+ =nternational "opyright Sec red+ All 8ights 8eser%ed+ LTrac> ), -0+00!0+02/M

There are a n m,er o# other signi#icant themes in the -1rel de/ apart #rom the opening chords and Steiner #ig re, , t one partic lar )2-,ar t ne stands o t a,o%e all others 'meas res <7- D9, E.ample 2(+ 7a,eled -The 1sycho Theme/)< in the 1aramo nt c e sheets, it is di%ided into two sections e.pressed in >eys located a hal#-step apart+ E.ample 2+ -The 1sycho Theme,/ meas res <7-D9, #rom Psycho! )1rel de+/ M sic ,y 3ernard Herrmann+ "opyright 4 )0*0, )0*) Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77"+ "opyright 8enewed+ All 8ights administered ,y Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77", 9 M sic S: are ;est, Nash%ille, TN <720<+ =nternational "opyright Sec red+ All 8ights 8eser%ed+ LTrac> ), -0+29!0+<7/M

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si$h motif

“Hitchcoc% chord”

"ritics o%er the past thirty years ha%e largely ignored the -The 1sycho Theme+/ Steiner wrote, -Caltho gh this moti%e appears three times in this piece, Herrmann always drops it : ic>ly, and ne%er de%elops it in any way+/ )D 3rown wrote, -The 1sycho Theme/ remains an insepara,le part o# the -1rel de/ m sic and is heard again only within that conte.t when it appears twice more d ring the #irst third o# the #ilmC+/ )G =n his notes to the recording o# m sic #or Psycho! Je%in M lhall wrote, -the )2 ,ar melody is le#t nde%eloped and appears only in the B1rel de+?/ )* 1erhaps ,eca se -The 1sycho Theme/ is re#erenced only indirectly a#ter the m sic o# the -1rel de/ pre%io s a thors ha%e dismissed its importance+ Ne%ertheless, its ghostly image appears thro gho t the m sic p to the dramatic clima. o# the #ilm+ =ts manip lation may e%en ,e considered a good e.ample o# what Arnold Schoen,erg called -thematic li: idation+/)7 S pported ,y harmony in the tonic o# E #lat minor, the #irst eight notes 'herea#ter mar>ed with n m,ers( o# -The 1sycho Theme/ pass o%er the diatonic E #lat minor scale+ 3e#ore reaching the tonic o# E #lat 'E.ample 2, meas re D0(, the t ne drops a hal# step and passes thro gh another eight notes *n%#%$ in diatonic E minor+)9 The t ne contin es with two iterations o# an operatic -sigh moti# / 'an a gmented and in%erted re#erence to Steiner?s twonote #ig re #rom earlier in the -1rel de/( and concl des ,y stepping down another hal#-step onto the note F onto a -Hitchcoc> "hord+/ Herrmann sometimes s ,stit tes am,ig o s diminished se%enth chords #or the -Hitchcoc> "hord/ when this melody is re#erenced later in the #ilm+ $nli>e
M sic in "onte.t )DD

other moti#s o# the -1rel de,/ -The 1sycho Theme/ can ,e easily s ng, and ,eca se the listener hears it many times 'e+g+, in c es s ch as -1rel de,/ -Flight a,/ -1atrol "ar/ and -8ainstorm/( an e.pectation is , ilt p #or its pattern o# eight-notes or eight meas res 'a gmentation(!#ollowed ,y -sigh moti#s/ in s ,se: ent c es o# the #ilm+ Elements o# -The 1sycho Theme/ permeate most o# the m sic p to the clima. o# the #ilm 'e+g+, -@isco%er,/ <0( where the character o# Norman 3ates goes completely insane+ The eight-note pattern o# -The 1sycho Theme/ is preser%ed in )D c es and its -sigh moti#s/ occ r in o%er 20 c es, or more than hal# o# all the m sic #or the #ilm+ As Norman 3ates? personality degrades o%er the co rse o# the drama, the t ne is grad ally crowded o t ,y m sic associated with another 'atonal( moti# that Herrmann re#erred to elsewhere as -the real Psycho theme+/)0 -The 1sycho Theme/ disappears precisely at the clima. o# the #ilm where Norman is disco%ered to ,e acting as his own -mother+/ 7et s ,rie#ly re%iew some o# the modi#ied %ersions o# the -The 1sycho Theme/ ,e#ore seeing how it is dismem,ered in the -M rder/ scene+ A#ter the #ast-paced -1rel de/ to the #ilm, the scene changes to a laAy day in 1hoeni., AriAona 'E.ample <, -The "ity/( where two lo%ers are secretly meeting in a hotel room+ Slow tempo and harmonic rhythm help set the mood o# a laAy a#ternoon+ A cascading eight-note pattern *n%#%$o# diminished and hal# diminished se%enth chords 'with implications #or resol tion to the tonic o# E #lat( end with a %ariant o# the -sigh moti# / e.pressed as two diminished se%enth chords a hal# step apart 'c#+ Steiner -sigh moti# /(+ The latent re#erences to E #lat harmony, an eight-note period, and the presence o# the -sigh moti#s/ all signal a connection to -The 1sycho T ne,/ , t listeners are only dimly aware o# this connection as e%ents n#old+ E.ample <+ -The "ity,/ meas res )-<+ LTrac> 2, -0+00!0+2)/M

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si$h motif

;here%er this cascading material is heard later in the #ilm one associates it with a dreamy, , t tragic sit ation ,eca se ,oth the tempo and harmonic rhythm are slower than the theme #rom which it deri%es+ M sic o# -The "ity/ '2( is d plicated in -"ar 7ot/ '9( and rec rs with slight %ariations #o r times therea#ter in -;indow/ ')2(, -1arlor/ ')<(, -3athroom/ ')*( and -Search 3/ '<)(+
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The most important o# these rec rrences is in -The ;indow/ ')2( where Marion loo>s p the hill #rom her motel room window to hear Norman arg ing with his -mother+/ "hromatic alterations in the harmony 'c#+, Hitchcoc> chords identi#ied with an asteris> in E.ample D( increase the dissonance and re#lect Norman?s comment that -mother isn?t : ite hersel# today+/20 This mar>s the #irst time in the #ilm that chromatic dissonance and atonality are thematically lin>ed to Norman?s madness+ 3y disr pting the pattern with a chromatic alteration, the m sic more e##ecti%ely portrays the dist r,ance created ,y -mother+/ There is no act al -mother/ theme in Psycho nless we e: ate her with a three-note moti# heard later in -The Madho se/ ')D(+ 3r ce called this three-note moti# -the madness theme+/ 2) As we shall see, howe%er, -mother/ and madness are represented ,y dissonance and atonality that Herrmann deri%es #rom another o# his wor>s, Sinfonietta for Strings ')0<G(+22 E.ample D+ -The ;indow/ ')2(, meas res )-<+ LTrac> )2, -0+00!0+22/M P P

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si$h motif

-The 1sycho Theme/ occ rs many times and in many g ises as it is systematically li: idated across the #ilm+ 3 t Herrmann reser%es the most chromatic and grotes: e trans#ormation #or the inciting incident o# the drama !-The M rder/ ')7, see E.ample G(+ The so nds o# the slasher music ha%e ,ecome iconic in 20th cent ry #ilm m sic+ E%en those who ha%e ne%er seen this #ilm ,e#ore recogniAe the screeching -M rder/ moti# whene%er it is paraphrased in m sic+ M sic critic5director "la de "ha,rol commented a,o t this spot in the #ilm2 -The m sic %irt ally points to the c lprit, , t we don?t >now whyC+@eep inside we #eel that Norman 3ates may ,e the >iller+/ 2< Ine o# the m sical reasons we s spect that Norman is the >iller is ,eca se the tonic notes o# his -1sycho Theme/ 'E #lat and E( are presented as a cascading chord cl ster that re#erences the eight-note rhythm o# -The 1sycho Theme/ 'in a gmentation( and ends with atonal retrogrades o# the -sigh moti#+/ Norman is m sically trans#ormed into the deadly >ni#e itsel# as he sta,s Marion to death with atonal chord cl sters ,ased pon the >ey notes o# his own theme+ Since this is Norman?s greatest moment o# madness, we e.pect to
M sic in "onte.t )D*

hear melodic #ract ring, disO nction and great dissonance!e%en atonality+ -The 1sycho Theme/ is here dismem,ered in the tradition o# operatic mad scenes!where t nes are typically #ragmented, ,ro>en p and distorted in order to demonstrate insanity in a character o# the plot+ E.ample G+ -The 1sycho Theme/ trans#ormed into slasher music, meas res )-9+ Psycho! )The M rder+/ M sic ,y 3ernard Herrmann+ "opyright 4 )0*0, )0*) Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77"+ "opyright 8enewed+ All 8ights administered ,y Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77", 9 M sic S: are ;est, Nash%ille, TN <720<+ =nternational "opyright Sec red+ All 8ights 8eser%ed+ LTrac> )7, -0+00!0)2/M 1 2 3 4 ! " #

Eight 'n%#%( meas re-long 'a gmentation( reiterations cascade down an open position chord-cl ster in the style o# Henry "owell or "harles =%es+ 2D The idea o# representing slashing ,lades in m sic goes ,ac> at least as #ar as MoAart?s +on ,iovanni 'opening scene, sword #ight( and certainly the stro>es o# ,ows pon strings em late a slashing e##ect, , t perhaps these indi%id al ,ow stro>es do act ally so nd li>e ,ird shrie>s, as one a thor s ggests+2G The pattern descends as altered octa%es '>eynote pitches #rom the -The 1sycho Theme/( and maOor se%enths 're#erence to the -Hitchcoc> "hord/(, while the indi%id al pitches are rising chromatically #rom E #lat to & #lat as the pattern repeats se: entially+ Meas res )7-<7 immediately #ollowing this cascade present a grotes: e trans#ormation o# the -sigh moti#+/ The rhythm #rom the end o# -The 1sycho Theme/ is heard here in retrogradeF the pitches are altered and the pattern is in a low register, , t the two-note gro pings shown in E.ample * are clear+ E.ample *+ -Sigh moti#s/ #rom -The 1sycho Theme/ trans#ormed into slasher music, meas res )7-<7+ Psycho! )The M rder+/ M sic ,y 3ernard Herrmann+ "opyright 4 )0*0, )0*) Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77"+ "opyright 8enewed+ All 8ights administered ,y Sony5AT6 M sic 1 ,lishing 77", 9 M sic S: are ;est, Nash%ille, TN <720<+ =nternational "opyright Sec red+ All 8ights 8eser%ed+ LTrac> )7, -0+2D!0+<0/M
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si$h motifs etc&

At this point, the -sigh moti# / is one o# the #ew recogniAa,le remnants le#t o# -The 1sycho Theme+- 7ater in the #ilm, it is the only remaining piece o# -The 1sycho Theme/ as things deteriorate #or Norman 3ates+ S ,se: ent reiterations o# this moti# are heard in a gmentation with slow and pathetic reminiscences so nding not nli>e a m sical commentary pon the tragic decline o# a main character+ The -sigh moti# / is grotes: ely trans#ormed in -The M rder/ ')7( and -The Jni#e/ '<0(, and is harmoniAed in %ario s ways in -The "ity/ '2(, -The "ar 7ot/ '9( -The ;indow/ ')2(, -The 1arlor/ ')<( -The 3athroom/ ')*( and -Search 3/ '<)(+ =t is also heard as melodic reminiscence in -The 1ac>age/ '0(, -The Hotel 8oom/ '))(, -The First Floor/ '<2(, -"a,in )0/ '<<(, -"a,in )/ '<D( and -@isco%ery/ '<0( as shown in E.ample 7+ Herrmann sed this same two-note -sigh moti# / in many o# his other #ilm scores to create a sense o# pathos 'e+g+, .ertigo! /orth #y /orth0est and 1he +ay the 2arth Stood Still(+ E.ample 7+ Two %ariants o# the -sigh moti# / #rom Psycho! -The "ity/ '2( and -Hotel 8oom/ '))(+ LTrac> 2, -0+)G!0+)7/ and Trac> )), -0+00!0+)0/M

A#ter the #irst m rder, the -The 1sycho Theme/ is re#erenced only as #ragments 'in the ,ass part o#, -The "ar/ '22(, or in -The Jni#e/ '<0( and -Search 3/ '<)(+ New dissonant m sic ta>es o%er the #ilm as Norman?s psychiatric sit ation degrades+ The only t ne not contained in the )1rel de/ that appears later in the #ilm 'complication and clima.( is a re sed moti# #rom Herrmann?s atonal Sinfonietta for Strings ')0<G( as shown in E.ample 9+ The moti# is #o nd in the -ScherAo/ 'Mo%ement No+ <( o# that wor> and la,eled there as -Theme+/ This disO nct, three-note -Theme/ was re-la,eled ,y &raham 3r ce as -the Madho se
M sic in "onte.t )D9

theme/ in his analysis o# Psycho ,eca se it is always associated with madness in the drama% =ts arri%al signals the #inal psychiatric decline o# Norman 3ates and a trend toward atonality in the m sical score+ E.ample 9+ Three-note -Theme/ #rom 3ernard Herrmann?s Sinfonietta ')0<G(, d plicated in -The Madho se/ ')D(, and heard as -the real Psycho theme,/ in 1a"i +river ')07G(+

Qears a#ter Herrmann composed the m sic #or Psycho, he scratched o t two meas res at the end o# the man script #or the #ilm 1a"i +river ')07G(, replaced them with this three-note -Theme/ #rom the Sinfonietta% He also wrote the words -this is the real Psycho 1heme- o%er the same notes in a score o# 1a"i +river owned ,y his #riend "hris 1almer+ 2* =t is not clear whether Herrmann was ma>ing a m sical re#erence only to the psychotic main character o# 1a"i +river! or re#erencing this -Theme/ in the larger conte.t o# his earlier wor>s, , t all three instances o# the three-note -Theme?!in Sinfonietta ')0<G(, Psycho ')0*0( and 1a"i +river ')07G(!are identical+ The connection ,etween them is their disO nct character, their atonal conte.t and dramatic implications #or madness% 8oyal 3rown once mentioned to Herrmann that the c e #or -The Swamp/ '2D( seemed to deri%e #rom his Sinfonietta%27 3 t Herrmann arg ed %ehemently that he didn?t copy his earlier wor>+ Among other things, s ch an admission wo ld create a copyright con#lict and co ld potentially damage the career o# a Hollywood st dio composer+ The -Madho se/ ')D( theme 'or -real Psycho Theme/( comes at a point in the drama where Norman has held a lengthy con%ersation with MarionF it is the point at which -mother/ 'atonality( is pro%o>ed with Oealo sy+ This moment pro%ides the composer with an opport nity to introd ce dissonant m sic that will signal ,oth a downt rn in Norman?s mental state and the arri%al o# atonality in the s ,se: ent -M rder/ ')7(+ So, why not recycle earlier original m sicR Some o# the most #ascinating m sic in Psycho occ rs where Norman slowly clim,s the stairs to con#ront his -mother/ to tell her that she m st ,e hidden down in the cellar '-The Stairs,/ 20(+ Herrmann , ilds tension with a cascading so nd mass made p o# two diminished chords located a hal# step apart+ As early as age )7, Herrmann employed the idea o# cascading chord cl sters in a wor> entitled 1he Forest29 where he too> all o# the notes o# the "
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sharp minor scale and cascaded them slowly downward as an nresol%ed so nd mass+ Ascending and descending so nd masses permeate m ch o# Psycho% At the ,eginning o# the #ilm, Herrmann?s cascades are triadic , t, as the plot thic>ens, they e%ol%e into chromatic and e%en atonal sim ltaneities+ Many %is al images in the #ilm correspond to these ascending and descending cascades, s ch as the esta,lishing shot o# -The "ity/ '2(, Marion loo>ing p the hill #rom -The ;indow/ ')2(, 3ates con%ersing in -The 1arlor/ ')<(, or e%en the downward thr sts o# the >ni#e in -The M rder/ ')7( A,o t hal# a doAen c es o# dissonant m sic precede 7ila?s 'Marion?s sister( clim, to Norman?s ho se '-The Hill,/ <G(+ A descending chromatic soprano line '#rom -Marion,/ <( phrased in se%eral eight-note gro ps *n%#%$ is accompanied ,y a rising chromatic ,ass made o# in%erted -sigh moti# / #ig res #rom -The 1sycho Theme+/ As 7ila clim,s the hill, these two chromatic lines con%erge pon an am,ig o s -Hitchcoc> "hord+/ The m sical and dramatic o tcome o# 7ila?s clim, to 3ates? ho se is am,ig ity, , t her contin ed search leads to the disco%ery o# Norman?s madness in the ,asement o# the ho se 'atonality(+ As 7ila wanders thro gh the 3ates? ho se in -The 3edroom/ '<*( and -The Toys/ '<7(, the m sic ta>es an ne.pected diatonic t rn and the listener is reminded once again o# Norman with notes o# the -The 1sycho Theme/ 'meas res D)-DD(+ 3r ce wrote, -The rising scale is almost t ne# l, its restrained lyricism contrasting with the , l> o# the m sic which has preceded it in the #ilmC=t is warm, compassionate m sicC+/ 20 Nat rally, this segment o# the diatonic -1sycho Theme/ so nds -warm/ when compared to the atonal m sic s rro nding it+ As an a dience, we want to ,e sympathetic to Norman?s sit ation, , t we ha%e lost #aith in him ,eca se he is protecting his psychotic mother+ ;e are also con# sed a,o t his role in this horri#ic plotF a re#erence to the diatonic -The 1sycho Theme/ while %iewing his childhood possessions ma>es this sympathy possi,le+ At the clima. o# the drama, when 3ates ,rea>s into the cellar dressed as his -mother/ to >ill 7ila, the slasher music is heard again+ =t is well >nown that the slasher music was missing in the earliest %ersion o# this #ilm and that Hitchcoc> said -;ell, 3enny, it?s great, , t yo missed a terri#ic pointC+yo sho ld repeat that mar%elo s string theme L slasher musicM #rom the shower scene as Norman comes r shing down the cellar stairsC+/ <0 Hitchcoc> realiAed how important the >ni#e attac> m sic wo ld ,e at the tragic clima., how it wo ld identi#y the perpetrator o# the crimes, s mmariAe pre%io s e%ents, and pre%ent any t rning ,ac> at the cr . o# the drama+ Th s, the most grotes: e %ersion o# -The 1sycho Theme/ is presented one last time to rein#orce its connection with the main character+ The #lailing o# 7ila?s arm ca ses Norman?s em,almed mother to t rn aro nd in her chair and the a dience is teased with stri>ing descending chromatic scales+ At #irst this repeated rhythmic pattern '-@isco%ery,/ <0, meas res 2*-<G( appears to ,e a copy o# meas res *D-*9 o# the -ScherAo,/ #rom Herrmann?s atonal Sinfonietta% Howe%er, each gro p o# this m sical
M sic in "onte.t )G0

pattern ,egins with one o# the #irst #i%e notes o# -The 1sycho Theme/ transposed p a hal# step 'c#+ Steiner #ig re( #rom E #lat to E minor, as shown in E.ample 0+ S ch a small re#erence to -The 1sycho Theme/ at this point in the drama indicates that Norman 3ates? t ne still e.ists somewhere in all o# the chromatic madness, , t is #ragmented to an almost nrecogniAa,le state+ This spot mar>s the cr . o# the drama #rom which there is no t rning ,ac>+ ;hen 7ila >noc>s her arm against the light , l,, mother is e.posed 'coming to light(!almost as i# Apollo 'the S n &od( has come down in an Ancient &ree> tragedy to administer p nishment against the main character+ E.ample 0+ -The 1sycho Theme/ em,edded in the highest notes o# -@isco%ery/ '<0(, meas res 2*-<G+ LTrac> <0, -0+22!0+20/M 1 2 3 4

The one thing that Norman 3ates does not want is e.pos re and he is hoping that another m rder will help >eep his secret+ Thwarted ,y Sam, howe%er, and disco%ered in his mother?s clothing ,y the astonished 7ila, 3ates? secret is e.posed+ The m sic ,ecomes a character at this point in the drama, so nding an in%erted two-note Steiner moti# #rom the opening o# the #ilm to signal the end o# Norman+ He is, #or all practical p rposes, psychiatrically dead and -mother/ 'atonality( ta>es o%er completely+ The m sic stops, catharsis is complete, and modern psychiatry is le#t to e.plain things+ A#ter completing the #inal scene o# the #ilm, Al#red Hitchcoc> said to Simon Ia>land '@r+ 8ichman(2 -Qo ?%e O st sa%ed my pict re+/ <) This is ,oth literally and #ig rati%ely tr e ,eca se it ta>es a good actor to deli%er s ch dry medical dialog and only a psychiatrist co ld con%incingly e.plain away this strange story with the concept o# schiAophrenic death+ Modern psychiatric science is here depicted as a -god/ in the manner o# the Ancient &ree> deus e" machina+ A##irming the psychiatrist?s analysis, the orchestra pro%ides an atonal commentary as Norman 'or, his -mother/( tal>s to himsel# in %oiceo%ers+ Following the tradition o# Ancient &ree> tragedy, where the main character is s ally >illed or permanently damaged in some way, Norman 3ates? personality has died, and the accompanying atonal m sic con#irms it '-Finale,/ D0(+ =t is remar>a,le how care# lly Herrmann?s -1sycho Theme/ o tlines the dramatic str ct re o# this #ilm+ Not only is it systematically li: idated p to the dramatic clima., , t it identi#ies the main character, re#erences the decline o# that character and signi#icantly disappears at the t rning point o# the drama

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when 3ates? schiAoid split is complete+ The cele,rated slasher music that deri%es #rom -The 1sycho Theme,/ is an organic part o# this red cti%e process+ Film connoisse rs will ,e #ore%er than># l to Fred Steiner #or his identi#ication o# the hal#-step relations in the m sic o# Psycho, to 8oyal 3rown #or appreciating the so nds o# the minor-maOor se%enth chords #o nd there, and to ;illiam ;ro,el #or showing the roots o# this m sic in Herrmann?s Sinfonietta, , t the systematic m sical li: idation o# -The 1sycho Theme/ into the slasher music will now add an important new dimension to their con%ersation a,o t the o%erall str ct re o# the m sic #or Psycho+<2 'otes
This paper was originally read at the National Association #or H manities Ed cation Association meeting, San Francisco, March 2, 2007 and at the Mid-So th American M sicological Society!M sic Theory Society Mega-"on#erence at the $ni%ersity o# &eorgia 'Athens(, March )*, 2007+ 2 -" e sheet S)0,7G2,/ Psycho! 1aramo nt 1ict res, K ly ), )0*0, 'also another sheet dated K ne 27, )0*0( controlled ,y Famo s "happell 7imited+ < =n his )07G pioneering wor>, -Herrmann?s B3lac> and ;hite M sic? M sic #or Hitchcoc>?s 1sycho,/ Film 3usic /ote#ook, )-D ;inter, )07D-7G, 2*-D* '1art ==(, Fred Steiner identi#ied the principal m sical moti#s o# 1sycho and e.plained their organiAation+ 8oyal 3rown presented an important harmonic aspect o# the m sic in -Herrmann, Hitchcoc>, and the M sic o# the =rrational+/ 'inema 4ournal 2), No+ 2, 4Stor D5)05200* )02D* AM+ $ni%ersity o# Te.as 1ress, )092+ D-D0+ &raham 3r ce sorted the important themes into comprehensi,le gro ps in -3ernard Herrmann Film M sic and Narrati%e+/ Ann Ar,or2 U3I 5esearch Press, )09G+ )0<-200+ As recently as 200< ;illiam ;ro,el listed the in#l ences o# Herrmann?s Sinfonietta for String (rchestra ')0<G( on Psycho in -Sel#-3orrowing in the M sic o# 3ernard Herrmann,/ 1he 4ournal of Film 3usic )22-< 'Fall-;inter 200<(+ 2D0-27)+ D @ rgnat, 8aymond+ A Long Hard Look at Psycho+ 7ondon2 3F= 1 ,lications, 2002+ 222+ G "on%ersation with 1ro#essor Thomas ;alton, April, 2009+ * Ste#ano, Koseph+ 1sycho 'complete script, transcri,ed(+ /e0 Arts Li#rary+ )009+ Inline =nternet L http255www+paradiselost+org5psycho+html M D5)95200*+ Also as completed #ilm, Hitchcoc>, Al#red+ Psycho% $ni%ersal "ity, "A2 $ni%ersal St dios, )000 'originally released, )0*0(+ L@6@ 202G)M+ 7 3loch, 8o,ert+ Psycho+ 7ondon2 3looms, ry 1aper,ac>s, )007 'originally p ,lished, )0G0(+ 9 This is the arrangement #o nd in a c e sheet 'S)0,7G2( #rom 1aramo nt 1ict res with si.ty c e n m,ers, dated K ly ), )0*0+ 3ernard Herrmann Society we, site, -" e Sheet2 Psycho+/ Inline Lhttp255www+ i,+no5herrmann5d,5c esheets5#ilmTpsycho+html M 050250*+0 M sical selections are identi#ied with trac> n m,ers and timings 'e+g+, -Trac> U, !+/( as #o nd on the #ollowing "@ recording2 Herrmann, 3ernard+ Psycho6 1he 'omplete (riginal 3otion Picture Score + Koel McNeely, cond ctor, 8oyal Scottish National Irchestra+ St dio "ity, "A2 6arese5Sara,ande, )007 '6S@-G7*G(+ )0 Smith, Ste%en "+ A Heart at Fire7s 'enter6 1he Life and 3usic of 8ernard Herrmann% 3er>eley2 $ni%ersity o# "ali#ornia 1ress, )00)+ )02+
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M sic in "onte.t

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7eigh, Kanet, with Nic>ens, "hristopher+ Psycho6 8ehind the Scenes of the 'lassic 1hriller% New Qor>2 Harmony 3oo>s, )00G+ )**+ )2 Steiner, )D-D0+ )< The -1sycho Theme/ moni>er was attached to the t ne early in the history o# Psycho+ A list o# c es attached to the original #ilm score man script '1sycho, #ilm score man script c e sheet+ 3ernard Herrmann "ollection, @onald "+ @a%idson 7i,rary, @ept o# Special "ollections, $ni%ersity o# "ali#ornia, Santa 3ar,ara!in Herrmann?s handwritingR( ,ears no mention o# a -1sycho Theme+/ A #ew wee>s a#ter completion o# the m sical score, howe%er, Herrmann signed an a##ida%it with 1aramo nt indicating that he was the creator o# all the m sic #or the #ilm and that partic lar c e list incl ded #o r re#erences to a -1sycho Theme+/ '7egal agreement ,etween 3ernard Herrmann and Shamley 1rod ctions, =nc+, dated March )G, )0*0+ 1roperty o# 1aramo nt 1ict res, co rtesy o# @r+ Keannie 1ool+( " e lists #rom a #ew months later, incl de 'all( ele%en re#erences to -The 1sycho Theme/ in the #ilm score+ The theme appears to ,e an original creation #or this #ilm that was identi#ied separately #or copyright p rposes to ens re it co ld ,e sed as a so rce o# song material later! which was standard st dio practice at the time according to correspondence with ;arren Sher>, @ata,ase Archi%ist and M sic Specialist, Special "ollections, Margaret Herric> 7i,rary, Academy o# Motion 1ict re Arts and Sciences+ No%em,er 20, 200*+ )D Steiner, 20+ )G 3rown, <D+ )* M lhall, Je%in, liner notes, Herrmann! 8ernard% 1he 'omplete (riginal 3otion Picture Score6 Psycho% Koel McNeely, cond ctor, 8oyal Scottish national Irchestra+ St dio "ity2 "A2 6arese5Sara,ande, )007 '"@, 6S@-G7*G( <+ )7 @ de: e, Norton+ 3usic 1heory and Analysis in the 9ritings of Arnold Schoen#erg *:;<=> :?@:$% 3 rlington, 6T2 Ashgate 1 ,lishing "ompany, 200G+ )G0+ )9 Ine is tempted to compare the harmony o# -The 1sycho Theme/ with the Steiner moti# ,eca se it rises a hal#-step #rom E #lat minor to E minor+ )0 1almer, "hristopher+ -The M sic o# 3ernard Herrmann,/ 3onthly Film 8ulletin '3ritish Film =nstit te(, Ict+ )07*+ 20 Hitchcoc>, Ip+ cit+ 2) 3r ce, Ip+ cit+ 22 ;ro,el, Ip+ cit+ 2< 8a>sin, @a%id, M silli, Kohn and 1aley, Stephen+ 1he Film 3usic of 8ernard Herrmann+ Jent, "T2 "reati%e Arts Tele%ision, )007+ 2D 3ernard Herrmann writes -Cin )900 =%es was writing poly-tonality, which, in )0)0, Milha d introd ced in pop lar gar,+ =n )002 he was prod cing poly-rhythms, atonality and tone cl stersC+/ 1rend6 A Auarterly of the Seven Arts 6ol+ ) No+ < 'Sept-Ict-No%+ )0<2(, 00-)0)+ 2G 3r ce, 2)0+ 2* 1almer, Ip+ cit+ 27 Siegel, 8o,ert+ -1ro#ile2 "omposer 3ernard Herrmann and His M sical Score #or the Mo%ie -1sycho,/ transcript #rom All 1hings 'onsidered, National 1 ,lic 8adio, Icto,er <0, 2000+ A%aila,le thro gh 3ritannica "oncise Encyclopedia, Inline =nternet L http255www+encyclopedia+com5doc5)3)-<*70)7+html M G5<52009+ 29 Herrmann, 3ernard+ -The Forest,/ #rom 1one Poem for Large (rchestra, Kan ary 20, )020+ 3ernard Herrmann "ollection, @onald "+ @a%idson 7i,rary, @ept+ o# Special "ollections, $ni%ersity o# "ali#ornia, Santa 3ar,ara+ 20 3r ce, 20<+
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7eigh and Nic>ens, Ip++ cit+ 8e,ello, Stephen+ Alfred Hitchcock and the 3aking of Psycho+ New Qor>2 St+ Martin?s &ri##in, )009+ )29+ <2 Special than>s are d e to "arolyn Filippelli, Martha "oleman and the sta## o# the 3oreham 7i,rary at the $ni%ersity o# Ar>ansas U Fort Smith #or help in gaining access to so rcesF to @a%id Se ,ert o# the @onald "+ @a%idson 7i,rary, @ept o# Special "ollections, $ni%ersity o# "ali#ornia, Santa 3ar,araF and to @arren 8ainey #or m sical typesetting+
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M sic in "onte.t

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