An Analysis of Bernard Herrmann’s Film Composing Styles and Techniques

Blog, Education, Music

This is a University degree essay I originally wrote in 2007. It is in no way definitive, but may be useful to those studying Herrman’s work. 

Bernard Herrmann has been one of the most influential film composers through his originality and ability to create stunning scores that went against the film scoring trends of his time. A student of composer Percy Grainger, Herrmann studied at Julliard School of Music before heading to New York University where he found his voice as a contemporary composer. In 1933 he founded the New Chamber Orchestra, which played mostly unknown works by other contemporaries such as Charles Ives. It was his experience as a composer and conductor at this time that led him to become one of the world’s best-known film composers. 

An Analysis of Cantus In Memoriam of Benjamin Britten


Note: This is an essay I wrote during my University studies and is by no means a definitive guide to this excellent piece. Musical excerpts are for educational purposes only.

Estonian composer Arvo Pärt has become one of the most important and influential 20th century composers around. His musical journey throughout his life has been profound, leading him from the fashionable composing techniques in his early years to becoming a leading composer in a style commonly named ‘Holy Minimalism’ or ‘Sacred Minimalism’ similar to composers such as Tavener and Górecki. His early compositions were mostly in a Neo-Classical style influenced by composers such as Shostakovich and Prokofiev, but he soon moved on to using serialism techniques and employing the Twelve-tone system in his work. This however proved unpopular with the Soviet establishment at the time as well as leaving Pärt musically unfulfilled.