Music and the Silent Film

Music and the Silent Film : Contexts and Case Studies, 1895-1924

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Most people's view of silent film music is of a pianist playing old warhorse scores while watching the flickering screen. This innovative book shows that there was much more to silent film music and that often it was planned from the start as an integral part of the film. The first of three volumes investigating film music, this book devotes one chapter to films before 1900 and Camille Saint-Saens's score for L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise (1908). Another chapter looks closely at film scores composed by Walter Cleveland Simon for several films of 1912. The two main chapters are devoted to significant films of the silent period, D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Rene Clair's Entr'acte (1924). Breil's Birth of a Nation score was a compilation of many sources, but, when played by an orchestra accompanying the film in a theatre showing, it often matched the epic nature of the film and was one source of its great popularity.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 320 pages
  • 162.8 x 243.6 x 23.1mm | 701.68g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • figures, music examples
  • 0195068912
  • 9780195068917
  • 1,556,711

Back cover copy

In this book a leading authority on film music examines scores of the silent film period. The first of three volumes investigating music for film, this thoughtful, pathbreaking study demonstrates the richness of silent film music as it details the way scores were often planned from the start as an integral part of the cinematic whole. Recovering a vibrant and important aspect of twentieth-century music, Music and the Silent Film will interest scholars of film theory, film history, modern music, and modern aesthetics.
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Review quote

The book is well worth it, considering the sheer amount of information it contains. The writing itself is clear and direct... Musically-savvy readers will probably be happy to see a scholarly film music book with not only substantial analytical discussions but also musical examples in abundance. Anderson is especially interested in, and adept at, providng information of practical use to musicians and researchers in tracking down material. ... It is one of the most
substantial studies of silent film music available, and it constitutes both a useful reference work and a solid inquiry in a field only just beginning to open up to historians. * Journal of Film Music *
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About Martin Miller Marks

Martin Miller Marks is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music and Theater Arts at MIT. He has written and spoken extensively on the history of film music, and also frequently performs piano accompaniment for silent films.
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Rating details

3 ratings
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4 67% (2)
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