Listen to the kettle and snare drums during the first 14 seconds of this Taxi Driver clip. I so love it when a musical score, the right kind of musical score, tells an audience to sit up and hold onto their armrests because something’s about to go down. Bernard Herrmann was such a champ in this regard, and this kind of just-right set-up — call it “warning music” or “dread scoring” — seems to have all but disappeared from musical scores for the most part. Maybe I’m wrong.
By the way: Herrmann used a kind of low, downbeat sound along with the drums, but what musical instruments am I hearing? Oboes? Bassoons?