Musical Borrowing
An Annotated Bibliography

Individual record

[+] Wissner, Reba. “Music for Murder, Machines, and Monsters: ‘Moat Farm Murder,’ The Twilight Zone, and the CBS Stock Music Library.” Music, Sound, and the Moving Image 11 (September 2017): 157-86.

Bernard Hermann’s score to the 1944 CBS radio broadcast Moat Farm Murder was later reused in eleven episodes of The Twilight Zone. This appropriation of a radio score for a new television soundtrack is a case study in how music editors and supervisors created new layers of meaning with network cue libraries in the 1960s. CBS established its Stock Music Library in 1956, allowing its back catalogue of radio and television scores to be reused in future productions. Newly composed scores were also mandated by the CBS musicians’ union, leading to a mix of episodes containing wholly new music, partially new and partially stock, and wholly stock music. Hermann’s score to the Moat Farm Murder radio broadcast is broken into fourteen distinct cues. Each cue was used in at least one episode of The Twilight Zone and several cues are used in multiple episodes. Cue 5, which uses descending chromatic lines to signify danger, appears in seven different episodes of The Twilight Zone in a large section or reduced to a short stinger to punctuate a shocking moment on screen. Cue 9, which features descending chromatic lines with a distinctive nasal timbre, is used in four episodes of The Twilight Zone, often during flashback scenes. In their use of music libraries to create television soundtracks, music directors and editors across different programs and studios acted as hidden authors, shaping the emotion of programs in ways the drama by itself could not.

Works: Robert Drasnin (music editor): soundtrack to The Twilight Zone (164-67, 172-182).

Sources: Bernard Hermann: score to Moat Farm Murder (164-67, 172-182).

Index Classifications: 1900s, Film

Contributed by: Matthew Van Vleet

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Musical Borrowing and Reworking - - 2024
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