Hangover Square (1945): Macabre theme score

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Hangover Square (1945): Macabre theme score

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2     Double-spaced (450 words)

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Movie Review

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For the assignment, watch Hangover Square (1945) thriller set in London in 1903, George Harvey Bone is a (fictional) composer who suffers from strange blackouts. The score is by Bernard Herrmann(whom we’ve already met:Citizen Kane, Psycho, Vertigo, The Day the Earth Stood Still). The music is deeply integrated into the plot and contains several recurring themes. Most of them turn out to be a part of Bone’s composition in the story; we know this because they’re heard when the completed concerto is played at the end of the film. The most important theme—the Macabre theme—is first heard from 0:13to 0:30. The goal of the assignment is to explore how the Macabre theme changes alongside the story. Write a 500-word summary that analyzes five contrasting instances when the Macabre theme(or a fragment of it) is used, not including the one in the opening credits. Give the timing for each example, and address any relevant features (orchestration, dynamics, tempo, diegetic or non-diegetic) as well as how the theme’s appearance relates to the plot at that point. Of your five examples, no more than one can be from the final performance (1:06:50 –1:17:10). Note that the Macabre theme consists of melody and accompaniment. The theme’s melody plays in the piano above the accompaniment, also in the piano. The accompaniment consists of a low two-note motive followed by a repeating chord (TAAN TA TA TAAN); it loops over and over: The Macabre theme’s looped accompaniment two low notes, then …… four repeated chords, like a fanfare It’s crucial to differentiate the Macabre theme’s melody(which starts at 0:19)from its accompaniment(which starts at 0:13) because sometimes one appears without the other. If that happens, of course, you can still use that instance in your assignment, but be sure to clarify which of the two you’re talking about. Use your ~500 words effectively. It’s okay to either open with a one-sentence introduction OR end with a one-sentence conclusion, but otherwise please no fluff. Write directly and specifically about the theme’s role and salient features in each of the five appearances. Except for the one-sentence opener or closer, do not write about the history of the film, the importance of music in films, or any generic topic—focus exclusively on the thematic analysis.

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