Music and Sound in Silent Film: From the Nickelodeon to The Artist, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Music and Sound in Silent Film

From the Nickelodeon to The Artist, 1st Edition

Edited by Ruth Barton, Simon Trezise


214 pages | 50 B/W Illus.

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Despite their name, the silent films of the early cinematic era were frequently accompanied by music and other sound elements of many kinds, including mechanical instruments, live performers, and audience sing-alongs. The 12 chapters in this concise book explore the multitude of functions filled by music in the rapidly changing context of the silent film era, as the concept of cinema itself developed. Examples are drawn from around the globe and across the history of silent film, both during the classic era of silent film and later uses of the silent format. With contributors drawn from film studies and music disciplines, and including both senior and emerging scholars, Music and Sound in Silent Film offers an essential introduction to the origins of film music and the cinematic art form.

Table of Contents

Introduction (Simon Trezise) / Part One: The evolution of sound and performance practices, the American experience / 1.‘Better Music at Smaller Cost’: Selling Mechanical Instruments to American Motion Picture Houses in the 1910s (Jim Buhler and Allison Wente) / 2. Musical Suggestions for Hollywood Films, 1908-1927 (Kendra Preston Leonard) / 3. Sing them again: audience singing in silent film (Malcolm Cook) / Part Two: The evolution of sound and performance practices, the global experience / 4. ‘Players Must Be of a Good Class’: Women and Concert Musicians in Irish Picture Houses, 1910-20 (Denis Condon) / 5. Women musicians in the transition between silent and sound cinema (Laraine Porter)/ Part Three: Synchronisation and scoring – historical practices / 6. Music’s Role in the Development of the ‘Mute’ Feature Film: Ben Hur and Wings (Gillian B. Anderson) / 7. Edmund Meisel’s score to Der heilige Berg (1926): Prefiguring Hollywood’s ‘Golden Age’ narrative-scoring practices in live performance (Fiona Ford) / Part Four - Synchronisation and scoring – contemporary reworkings / 8. Carl Davis,interview by Simon Trezise / 9. Scenes from Ozu (Ed Hughes) / 10. Damaging a film; rediscovering a film. A Musical Comparison of Three DVD Editions of Nosferatu(Emilio Audissino) / 11. Electroacoustic Composition and Silent Film (Nicholas Brown) / 12. The Modern ‘Silent Film’ (James Wierzbicki) / 13. About the Contributors / Index

About the Editors

Ruth Barton is Associate Professor in the Department of Film, Trinity College Dublin. She is the author of Irish National Cinema, Acting Irish in Hollywood: From Fitzgerald to Farrell, Hedy Lamarr: The Most Beautiful Woman in Film, and Rex Ingram: Visionary Director of the Silent Screen.

Simon Trezise is Associate Professor in the Department of Music, Trinity College Dublin. He is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to French Music.

About the Series

Routledge Music and Screen Media Series

Routledge Music and Screen Media Series

The Routledge Music and Screen Media Series offers edited collections of original essays on music in particular genres of film, television, video games and new media. These edited essay collections are written for an interdisciplinary audience of students and scholars of music and film and media studies.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MUSIC / General
MUSIC / History & Criticism
PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism