A remarkable film in American cinematography, Psycho, created by Alfred Hitchcock owes its success not only to the outstanding director but also to a prominent composer Bernard Hermann. The soundtrack to the movie changed the overall attitude to music in filmmaking. Since the 1960s, music, and sounds have acquired a meaningful and even decisive value in high-quality cinematography, which marked the beginning of a new era in American cinema.
The sounds of instruments in Psycho are combined in a complete musical piece capable of strong emotional influence that emphasizes the visual material displayed in the feature. The composer utilizes music in two main ways that determine the overall significance of the message in the film. The first aspect lies in “its strict employment of only stringed instruments,” and another aspect is the “complete absence of diegetic music.”
There is no music that the characters listen to during the movie – all the sounds render the emotions and mood of the performance. Thus, music, being utilized only for the viewers, enables them to understand the feature better and reflect on the problems raised by the creators.
Symphonic scores were introduced as a powerful tool of the emotional effect that increases the level of tension in particular scenes of the film. One of the greatest scenes ever directed in the American filmmaking industry, the shower scene was accompanied by a remarkable soundtrack played on violins. These specific sounds made it possible to render the implicit emotional messages of terror, fear, and suspense which are the leitmotifs of the film.
Since the release of Psycho, filmmakers started to utilize music as a crucial tool in rendering information in movies. Such an approach enabled such films as Jaws or E.T. to become remarkable and memorable works of the film industry. Upon Alfred Hitchcock’s introduction of Psycho to the grand stage of Hollywood filmmaking, it became evident that a well-coordinated work of a director and a composer is a key to a film’s success.