Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Wrobel, William. "Self-Borrowing in the Music of Bernard Herrmann." Journal of Film Music 1 (Fall-Winter 2003): 249-71.

Despite his public denial of the practice, Bernard Herrmann frequently practiced self-borrowing in his radio, television, film, and concert music by both reproducing earlier works virtually intact and reworking the instrumentation, pitch, or notation of earlier material. Herrmann’s early work on radio plays for several CBS programs provided an important source for later self-borrowing. Herrmann’s score to Jason and the Argonauts (1968) includes at least five cues borrowed or reworked from radio scores and other film scores. One of these sources, the symphonic poem City of Brass (featured in a 1938 Columbia Workshop radio presentation), was borrowed from in several other film scores as well, including the score to The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (1958). Herrmann’s opera, Wuthering Heights, borrows from several of his film scores as well, most notably from The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (1947) and Jane Eyre (1944). Herrmann also adapted material from his concert music into his film scores; for example, “The Office” cue from Psycho is adapted from his Sinfonietta for Strings. Throughout his entire career, Herrmann steadily practiced self-borrowing.

Works: Bernard Herrmann: Wuthering Heights (249-50, 256-7), score to Discoverie (250-53), score to Hangover Square (251), score to Jason and The Argonauts (251-55), score to The Kentuckian (252-54), score to The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad (254-57), score to Mysterious Island (255), score to Tender Is the Night (257-58), score to North by Northwest (258), score to Journey to the Center of the Earth (258), score to Psycho (258), score to Battle of Neretva (258-59), score to The Trouble With Harry (258), A Portrait of Hitch (258), Western Saga (258, 260), score to The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (259)

Sources: Bernard Herrmann: score to The Ghost and Mrs. Muir (249-50, 256-58), score to Jane Eyre (250, 256), score to The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (250-53), Nocturne and Scherzo (251), score to Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef (251-52), City of Brass (252-53), score to The Shropshire Lad (252-54), score to The Kentuckian (254-55), score to Five Fingers (255-57), score to Mysterious Island (255), score to The Triangle on the Round Table (255), score to The Magnificent Ambersons (257), score to On Dangerous Ground (258), Sinfonietta for Strings (258), Clarinet Quintet (258), score to James Evans, Fireman: How He Extinguished a Human Torch (258), score to Coyle and Richardson: Why They Hung in a Spanking Breeze (258), score to Fahrenheit 451 (258-59), score to Blue Denim (259)

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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