Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Rosar, William. "Music for the Monsters: Universal Pictures' Horror Film Scores of the Thirties." The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress 40 (Fall 1983): 390-421.

The main title of the original Dracula (1930) consists of an abbreviated version of scene 2 from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Whether conscious or not, the composer Heinz Roemheld was carrying on into sound pictures a convention from silent films, in which Tchaikovsky's piece was used as a misterioso. Original pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries were often employed in the scores of these "B movies," as producers naively believed this would bring sophistication and class to their films, the quality of which was admittedly substandard. The harmonic language peculiar to pieces such as Stravinsky's Firebird and Petroushka and the whole-tone scale in particular have become characteristic of horror film music since the early 1930s.

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: David Oliver

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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