Screen Studies
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Hitchcock’s Ear

Hitchcock’s Ear: Music and the Director’s Art

by David Schroeder

David Schroeder holds a PhD from Cambridge University, and is Professor Emeritus at Dalhousie University, Canada. His books include Haydn and the Enlightenment (Oxford UP, 1990), Mozart in Revolt (Yale UP, 1999), Cinema’s Illusions, Opera’s Allure: The Operatic Impulse in Film (Continuum, 2002/Bloomsbury, 2016), and Our Schubert: His Enduring Legacy (Scarecrow, 2008). Author affiliation details are correct at time of print publication.

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Continuum, 2012
  • DOI:
    10.5040/9781628928778
  • ISBN:
    9781441114587 (hardback)

    9781441182166 (paperback)

    9781441108883 (epdf)

    9781441110701 (epub)

    9781628928778 (online)
  • Edition:
    First edition
  • Place of Publication:
    New York
Hitchcock’s Ear
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“Music is an underexplored dimension in Hitchcock’s works. Taking a different view from most works on Hitchcock, David Schroeder focuses on how an expanded definition of music influences Hitchcock’s conception of cinema. The structure and rhythm of his films is an important addition to the critical literature on Hitchcock and our understanding of his films and approach to filmmaking.

Alfred Hitchcock liked to describe his work as a director in musical terms; for some of his films, it appears that he started with an underlying musical conception, and transformed that sense of music into visual images. The director’s favorite scenes lacked dialogue, and they made their impact through a combination of non-verbal actions and music. For example, the waltz and the piano are used as powerful images in silent films, and this approach carries over into sound films. Looking at such films as Vertigo, Rear Window, and Shadow of a Doubt, Schroeder provides a unique look at the way that Hitchcock thought about cinema in musical terms.”