The score, about half of which was written in black ink on Ricordi music paper, carries the notes to the slashing, shrieking violin sounds that play when a knife-wielding killer bursts in on actress Janet Leigh as she showers in the Bates Motel.
The shower stabbing scene in Hitchcock's 1960 thriller stands out as the movie's most memorable scene, in large part because of Herrmann's startling sound.
The icy noise of a bow being repeatedly sliced across strings deftly mirrored the stabbing of the titular psychopath's knife, but Hermann said the cue was extremely simple.
"Violins did it!" Herrmann was quoted as saying in an extract from the book "Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of
'Psycho'" carried by Bonhams.
"It's just the strings doing something every violinist does all day long when he tunes up," Herrmann said. "The effect is as common as rocks."
Bonhams said Tuesday that the score was expected to go for up to $56,000. It was consigned for sale by Herrmann's third wife, Norma.
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