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Flashcards in AOS 3 Psycho Deck (39)
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String texture of Prelude

Opening 'hammered chords.
'Obsessive' quaver ostinato figures.
Pizzicato cello and bass notes, sometimes as a pulse and sometimes syncopated. Fingered tremolo.


Structure of Prelude

Used in six cues, mostly associated with characters escaping in cars.
Built up of four ideas:
1 - Stabbed syncopated 'Hitchcock' chords
2 - Busy, obsessive ideas made up of a short ostinato.
3 - Repeated dotted rhythm block chords answered by an off-beat low bass pizzicato
4 - A more conventional melodic line, moving stepwise (ghostly theme)
These ideas are played in various orders, but 1 always precedes two, and all undergo some variation either of idea or by transposition


Harmony of Prelude

Hitchcock cord is a minor chord with an added major seventh (Bb minor major 7th), and gives a stark and unstable sound, maybe foreshadowing at what's to come.
Extension chords, making major triads sound dissonant.
Has chords which are a semitone apart


Melody of Prelude

Idea two is constructed from two interlocking major thirds (E/G# and F/A) and also used to create an ostinato accompaniment, which is similar to one from Stravinsky's rite of spring.
An upward semitone motif is used frequently in the film, which is first heard in prelude, has been linked to the duality of Norman Bates' mind (sometimes called 'Steiner' motif). This motif is played as an ostinato and doubled in thirds and simultaneously inverted, and also used as a 'sighing motif' later on in prelude.


Tempo, metre and rhythm of prelude

In 2/4 and with a strong rhythmic drive fuelled by incessant quaver movement, which is interrupted by the syncopated rhythm of the Hitchcock chord.
A nervous Barton-like triplet semiquaver figure is used, but there is also a contrasting dotted quaver/semiquaver figure always concluded by a syncopated pizzicato accent in the bass
There are also moments of relaxation in idea four.


String texture of the city

Lush eight-part bowed string writing, very romantic in style, with octave doubling and very high writing in all instruments played pp


Structure of the city

Used in six cues and is associated with characters in mundane situations.
This is played as the camera pans over Phoenix and down the hotel room and is based on varied repetitions of the opening three bars.
Bars four and five are in literal retrograde of bars one and two.


Harmony of the city

Impressionistic use of diminished seventh and half diminished chords.


Tempo, metre and rhythm of the city

In 4/4 with a slow tempo.
Equal note values throughout, so it creates a feeling of pulse, rather than of rhythm


Texture of Marion

Is the most conventional of all of the cues, with a straightforward, mid-range, between three and six part arco string writing.
Opening melody is repeated an octave lower in the second violins.


Structure of Marion

Played during Marion and Sam's clandestine meeting in the hotel.
It has a simple AABA structure, based on four-bar phrases, rounded off with a paused Hitchcock chord.


Harmony of Marion

Based on a falling chromatic scale for the first four bars.


Melody of Marion

Begins with a long descending melodic sequence, with the rising/falling perfect fifth in every phrase (except for the very first note).
The middle section of this cue retains the rhythm of this idea, but changes the intervals to a rising diminished fifth and a falling perfect fourth.


Tempo, metre and rhythm of Marion

In 4/4 with a slow tempo, with a syncopated rhythm, with an anacrusis.


String texture of Murder

'Shrieking' ultra high notes towards the top of each instrument's range played sffz and senza sordini (unlike all the other cues in this film) for maximum impact.
The texture builds from the top note downwards, each of the eight divisi parts coming in after the other to create a complex eight note chord cluster.
As a complete contrast, from bar 17, the upper strings alternate arco and pizzicato low cluster chords, while the cello and basses play a sinister off-beat figure, also low in their registers (starting in octives and ending on a dim 5th) in a question and answer phrases with the upper stings.


Structure of Murder

Used four times, associated with the act (or result) of the murder.
It is first played during the shower scene, with the famous 'slashing' chords building up over eight bars, and then repeated with a glissando up to each note.
The rest of the cue consists of repeated two-bar phrases before a more sporadic final five bars.


Harmony of Murder

Dissonant chord clusters, based on chords with notes a semitone apart.
The chords at the beginning use the notes from Eb through to Gb, but with intervals inverted to form descending major sevenths between the notes of the chord.
Has other chords based on interlocking augmented fourths.


Melody of Murder

Inverting the intervals spaces our the chord cluster and the note values are augmented and intervals inverted in the cello and basses after the 'slashing' chords.
This also creates the 'Steiner' motif.


Tempo, metre and rhythm of Murder

In 3/2 with a fast tempo. The downbow accents in the first section creates a vicious pulse. In section two, the regular upper string chords are counterpointed by the rhythmically displaced bass/cello notes.


Context of Hermann

Often collaborated with Hitchcock.
Influences were far more varied and modern.
20th Century musical styles also feature, with echoes of Debussy and Stravinsky.


Effect of instrumentation

Only using the string section means there are no contrasting timbres and creates an almost claustrophobic 'closed in' sound.
Just using the string section almost reflects the stark, cold, black and white images of the film.


String texture of toys

Violins play downward parallel seventh chords.
An ostinato double pedal operates - viola plays arco F crotchets (using downbows), underpinned by pizzicato Es a ninth below in the cello and held E pedals further octave below that in the double bass


Structure of toys

Played as Lila (Marion's sister) explores Bates' bedroom.
Descending parallel chords over an ostinato double pedal.
Three bar phrases in the upper strings.


Harmony of toys

Chains of major seventh and minor seventh chords of parallel chord movement, moving by step.


Melody of toys

'Steiner' motif is heard through 'verticalisation' (played as a chord) in the bass.


Tempo, metre, and rhythm of toys

In 4/4 with a slow tempo.
Has three slow phrases (an augmentation of the Marion rhythm).
Heard against a throbbing crotchet pulse.


String textures of cellar

Begins with D octave doubled trills in all instruments.
Then moves into tremolando passages, moving in quavers, building a fugal texture.
Musical phrases are shared between ten divisi parts, with each half of the section overlapping the other by a quaver each time.
In bar 47, the tremolando continues, but now with a change of sound, as the strings play sul ponticello (near the bridge) in half of each part, while the other half play arco normale and senza tremolando.
At the same time, the cellos and basses begin to play longer notes, again splitting the section between normal arco and sul ponticello bowing.
The cue finishes with contrasting sustained chords, building a chord from the cellos and basses and ending with a high unresolved chord in the first violins.


Structure of cellar

Played as Marion descends the cellar stairs.
Builds up a fugal texture from eight-bar units, beginning four bars in.
Four (related) contrapuntal ideas eventually combine.
Bars 5-12: 'Subject' cellos/basses
Bars 13-20: 'Subject' violas - countersubject 1 cello/basses
Bars 21-28: 'Subject' violin 2 - CS1 - violas - CS2 - cello/basses
Bar 29: CS1 Violin 2 CS2 Violas
Bar 32: CS3 Cello/basses
Bar 40: CS4 violas (based on CS3, but metrically displaced)
Bar 45: CS1 gradually becomes downward chromatic scales
Bar 47: 'Subject' shared among all instruments, with bass/cello sustaining first note of each phrase.
Bar 68: Final chord builds up.


Tempo, metre and rhythm of cellar

In 2/4 with a fast tempo (allegro molto).
The contrapuntal ideas maintain a moto perpetuo stream of continuous quavers in order to build up tension. The excitement is heightened by the use of tremolandi.
Rests are inserted into the third and fourth ideas, to vary the rate of progress through the material.
The much longer note values in the concluding bars 'settle' the end of the extract, dissipating some of the tension.


String textures of discovery

Aggressive, highly rhythmic dissonant chords, with accents strengthened by pizzicato in the double bass. Rapid downward parallel seventh chords in the upper strings.