The Appraisal of Film Music Sources: the Case of «Rear Window» (Paramount, 1954)


  • Giorgio Biancorosso The University of Hong Kong


Film music studies, access and interpretation of primary sources, Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window, scoring process, collaborative composition


The article, mainly focused on the scoring process for Hitchcock’s «Rear Window», discusses the challenges of accessing and interpreting primary sources related to film music, particularly highlighting the unique constraints and opportunities presented by the films' indoor settings and well-documented production histories. The author explores the complexities of preservation in the context of film music, questioning the traditional notions of primary sources' value and function. Through a detailed analysis of the musical materials and production records, the article investigates the multi-agent process of film composition, shedding light on the role of various individuals and decisions beyond the composer's domain. The examination of multiple copies of musical scores reveals intriguing insights into the evolution of the soundtrack and its interpretation, challenging assumptions about the relationship between notated music and its audio-visual manifestation in film. Overall, the article offers a methodological reflection on the study of film music, emphasizing the importance of primary sources and their interpretative nuances in understanding the collaborative and dynamic nature of film composition.