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Music and Film

In: Film and Music

Submitted By breejuarez21
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Silent Film
Chapters 6 - 8

Silent Film Era 1895-1927
! Principal Questions

Where were films shown?
Who played the music?
What music did they play?
Who created the music?

! Some major silent films

! Films were first viewed as part of other shows, often vaudeville shows
! Nickelodeons began to appear in 1905
! By 1908, over 5,000 established in US
! After 1913, building of Movie Palaces
! Roxy theater, built in 1927, seats 6,214!

The Music
! Who chose the music?
! Generally the theater music director
! Original scores rare until the 1920s

! What type of music was played?
! Adaptations of Classics
! Arrangements of tunes
! Newly composed

Who Played the Music?
! Nickelodeon - pianist
! Organs became dominant instrument: Wurlitzer
! Gradual growth
! Small number (chamber group)
! Small orchestra (13 or 14)
! Full orchestra (50 - 100)

The Birth of a Nation
! Director: D.W. Griffith
! Composer: Joseph Carl Breil
! First masterpiece in film

Noted for length
Exploration of cinematography techniques
Brilliant use of film to further the plot
Film score created specifically for this film

! Flaw: racist

The Big Parade

Music for Birth of a Nation

» One of the best American silent films
» The biggest box-office hit of the 1920s
» Much is playful and romantic, increasing the horror of realistic battle scenes

! Uses all three types
! Adaptations
! Arrangements
! New

! Best remembered for the romance between US soldier and French woman
! At end: he returns to her in France, even after losing a leg

! Within new music: leitmotifs
! Themes that represent aspect of the story
! Themes can be altered to reflect changes in story

» Silent film
! Music and sound effects would be created live
! Music for orchestra would be continuous

Metropolis (1927)
Battleship Potemkin
! Lenin had film directors study D.W. Griffith’s
! Sergei Eisenstein is foremost director
! Master of montage
! Masterpiece is Battleship Potemkin

! Music by Meisel was considered too powerful for audience - thought to incite rebellion


Product of German Expressionism
Director: Fritz Lang
Composer: Gottfried Huppertz
Sci Fi vision of the future

Christian and socialist issues explored
Rich live on ground, decadent; poor work underground
Leader of rich, Joh; son Freder falls in love with Maria
False Maria created to destroy rebellious Christian thoughts ! Music includes leitmotifs and quotation of Dies irae

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