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TitleFilm Music: A History
PublisherRoutledge
ISBN 139780203884478
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size7.8 MB
Total Pages329
Table of Contents
                            BOOK COVER
TITLE
COPYRIGHT
CONTENTS
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
PREFACE
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
1 INTRODUCTION
Part 1 MUSIC AND THE “SILENT” FILM (1894–1927)
	2 ORIGINS, 1894–1905
	3 THE NICKELODEON, 1905–15
	4 FEATURE FILMS, 1915–27
Part 2 MUSIC AND THE EARLY SOUND FILM (1894–1933)
	5 THE LONG ADVENT OF SOUND, 1894–1926
	6 VITAPHONE AND MOVIETONE, 1926–8
	7 HOLLYWOOD’S EARLY SOUND FILMS, 1928–33
Part 3 MUSIC IN THE “CLASSICAL-STYLE” HOLLYWOOD FILM (1933–60)
	8 THE “GOLDEN AGE” OF FILM MUSIC, 1933–49
	9 POSTWAR INNOVATIONS AND THE STRUGGLE FOR SURVIVAL, 1949–58
Part 4 FILM MUSIC IN THE POST-CLASSIC PERIOD (1958–2008)
	10 A “NEW WAVE” OF FILM MUSIC, 1958–78
	11 ECLECTICISM, 1978–2001
	12 EPILOGUE, 2001–8
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

FILM MUSIC: A HISTORY

Film Music: A History explains the development of film music by considering large-scale
aesthetic trends and structural developments alongside socioeconomic, technological,
cultural, and philosophical circumstances.

The book’s four large parts are given over to Music and the “Silent” Film
(1894–1927), Music and the Early Sound Film (1894–1933), Music in the “Classical-
Style” Hollywood Film (1933–1960), and Film Music in the Post-Classic Period
(1958–2008). Whereas most treatments of the subject are simply chronicles of “great
film scores” and their composers, this book offers a genuine history of film music
in terms of societal changes and technological and economic developments within the
film industry. Instead of celebrating film-music masterpieces, it deals—logically and
thoroughly—with the complex “machine” whose smooth running allowed those occa-
sional masterpieces to happen and whose periodic adjustments prompted the large-scale
twists and turns in film music’s path.

James Wierzbicki is a musicologist who teaches at the University of Michigan and serves
as executive editor of the American Musicological Society’s Music of the United States
of America series of scholarly editions. His current research focuses on twentieth-century
music in general and film music and electronic music in particular.

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Page 164

ca. 1933–7 were already meeting narrative goals toward which directors, cinematog-
raphers, and screen-writers were still striving. But simultaneous with the establishment
of these norms there came a load of criticism, voiced as much by composers who
struggled within the Hollywood system as by composers who perhaps saw themselves
as being above the fray.

The criticism resulted in two ongoing debates. One of them—arguably naïve when
considered from the distance of seventy years—centered on the extent to which film
music should indeed be, to use Gorbman’s term, in effect “inaudible.” The other—quite
sophisticated, to judge from both the pedigrees of its participants and the general level
of its discourse, and not without relevance today—had to do with the purely musical
values of the film score as opposed to the values of music written, say, for the concert
hall.

A frequent contributor to the debate over film-music aesthetics was Virgil Thomson,
an American modernist composer who lived for the most part in Paris between 1925
until 1940 and then, based in New York, from 1940 until 1954 served as music critic
for the New York Herald-Tribune. Beginning in 1936, Thomson from time to time wrote
film music, but with one exception all his scores were for documentaries.51 But as early
as 1933 he was expressing strong opinions about film music.

Thomson’s brief 1933 contribution to the journal Modern Music seems, on the one
hand, peculiarly behind the times in that it celebrates the use in silent film accompani-
ments of staples from the classical repertoire. On the other hand, Thomson’s essay is
forward-looking in that, save for a handful of scores by concert-hall composers, it
generally discounts original music currently being written for sound films. Thomson of
course is commenting from a Parisian perspective, so it is not surprising that he makes
note of recent efforts of Arthur Honegger, Jacques Ibert, and Jean Rivier. But even this
otherwise commendable music, he writes, does not properly do the job of lending
continuity to the “naturally discontinuous medium” of cinema. Thomson summarizes:

With the exception of [Georges] Auric’s music in the court-yard scene of
Cocteau’s La Vie d’un Poète, which is very fine music, I have never heard
anything especially written for the films which seemed to me as beautiful and as
appropriate as those tremendously dramatic, intimately dramatic (like close-
ups), narratively dramatic moments from the symphonies of Beethoven and
Mozart that used to envelope us and carry us along through the sorrows of
Lillian Gish, the epic adventures of Fred Thompson and of Buck Jones. If any
one piece deserves the palm for services to cinematographic art, it is easily, I
should say, Schubert’s Unfinished Symphony, which year in and year out has
provided an appropriate dramatic continuity for a larger number of stories than
any other single piece classic or modern.52

Two years later the same journal featured an article on film music by George Antheil,
an American composer who during the 1920s in Paris achieved a reputation as an enfant
terrible and in 1935 was just beginning a career in Hollywood.53 Apparently choosing
to ignore single-author scores like Steiner’s for King Kong and Of Human Bondage,
Antheil writes that most current Hollywood film music takes the form of a “pastiche.”
“Hollywood” in 1935, he writes, by and large makes music according to “a group
formula”:

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T H E “ G O L D E N A G E ” O F F I L M M U S I C , 1 9 3 3 – 4 9

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Every studio keeps a staff of seventeen to thirty composers on annual salary.
They know nothing about the film till the final cutting day, when it is played
over for some or all of them, replayed and stopwatched. Then the work is
divided; one man writes war music, a second does the love passages, another is
a specialist in nature stuff, and so on. After several days, when they have finished
their fractions of music, these are pieced together, played into “soundtrack,”
stamped with the name of a musical director, and put on the market as an
“original score.” This usually inept product is exactly the kind of broth to
expect from so many minds working at high speed on a single piece.54

The pastiche score, Antheil explains, almost by definition lacks musical integrity, and
the only way to avoid this problem is to have the scores composed by just one person.
Such scores in fact exist, he writes, but all of them come from abroad; he refers
specifically to Auric’s music for À Nous la Liberté! (1931, French), Ernst Toch’s for
Karamazov (1930, German), Eugene Goosens’s for The Constant Nymph (1934,
English), Serge Prokofiev’s for Lieutenant Kijé (1933, Soviet), Dmitri Shostakovich’s for
Odna (1931, Soviet), and Kurt Weill’s for Die Dreigroschenoper (1931, German).55

Antheil’s mention of scores by prestigious European composers doubtless provided
ammunition for those who in the ensuing debate would dismiss music by Hollywood
“regulars” as being, as if by its very nature, inferior to music by composers experienced
in writing for the concert hall or opera house. Yet the overall tone of Antheil’s article is
not disparaging but optimistic. Antheil notes that for various reasons, not the least of
which is the studios’ growing awareness that “pastiche” scores often involved the
payment of substantial royalties for the use of music that was under copyright, Holly-
wood seemed to be warming up to the idea of “original scores” written to order, by
individuals, for particular films. And this, he concludes, is

an excellent augur for composers. For it becomes obvious even in Hollywood
. . . that the best original scores must be written by original composers—in other
words that they must be composed. Already feelers are being put out from
Hollywood in the direction of one-man scores. Naturally when such scores are
tried and prove commercially popular, the mechanical organization of the music
departments and studios will be adjusted to new methods of score production.
And these will be developed on a sound economic basis as effective for speed
and expense as the old ones—perhaps even more so.56

Continuing to express optimism, Antheil in 1936—in an article devoted for the most
part to extolling the sound practical advice contained in Sabaneev’s 1935 Music for the
Films: A Handbook for Composer and Conductors—wrote: “The musical departments
of our large studios are progressing by leaps and bounds, and the time is not far off when
legitimate composers will be able to compose film-scores they need not be ashamed to
sign.”57 He sustained the attitude in another article published the same year;
significantly, Antheil explained the changes in Hollywood’s attitude toward music not
just in terms of aesthetics but also in terms of economics:

Within a year’s time, a number of composers will, I have no doubt, come to
Hollywood, since motion picture producers have found out that better musical

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M U S I C I N T H E “ C L A S S I C A L - S T Y L E ” H O L L Y W O O D F I L M ( 1 9 3 3 – 6 0 )

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Tootell, George 57
Top Gun 213, 216
Torn Curtain 192, 211
Tosti, Paolo 249
Toulet, Emmanuelle 243, 244, 292
Tourbié, Richard 250
Tours, Berthold 56
Towering Inferno, The 204
Tracy, Spencer 181
Trainspotting 221
“Tramp, Tramp, Tramp” 60
Träumerei 40, 247, 249
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The 168
Triangle 64, 65
Tri-Ergon 86–7, 107
Trip to the Moon, A 244
Tristan und Isolde 265
Trois masques, Les 107
Trouble in Mind 217
Trouble with Harry, The 179
Trovatore, Il 44
True, Lyle B. 57, 250
Truffaut, François 199, 273
Trumbo, Dalton 163
Tuesday in November 264
Twentieth Century-Fox 162, 184, 186, 212,

268, 271
Twilight Zone, The 264
Tykocinski-Tykociner, Joseph 86–7
Tyler, Parker 144, 264

Uncle Tom’s Cabin 26
underscore 7, 22, 23, 25, 27, 59, 72, 74,

123–5, 126–9, 137–9, 142, 143, 158, 165,
167–8, 176, 179, 181, 194, 199, 200,
208, 210, 217, 222, 232, 244, 262, 263;
see also extra-diegetic music, nondiegetic
music

United Artists 94, 105, 121, 139, 145, 162,
192, 285, 272

Universal Film Company 51–2, 64, 65,
249, 258, 261, 262; see also Universal
Pictures

Universal Pictures 104, 125, 139, 145, 149,
162, 184, 186, 212; see also Universal
Film Company

United States v. Paramount, Inc., et al. 162;
see also “Paramount case”

Urban Cowboy 216

Vallee, Rudy 121
Van, Billy B. 26
Van Heusen, Jimmy 270
Van Sant, Gus 227
vaudeville 20, 26–7, 29, 30–1, 46, 54, 57,

75, 77, 79, 80–3, 87, 89, 91, 92, 104,
106, 116, 245

Verdi, Giuseppe 44, 58, 67, 91, 249
Vertov, Dziga 101, 256, 257
“Vesti la giubba” 91
Victor Talking Machine Company 76, 90
Vidor, King 127, 134
Vie d’un Poète, La 147
Views and Film Index 32
Vikings, The 166
Vistavision 165
Vitagraph 29, 40–1, 44, 64, 65, 90, 91, 247
Vitaphone 68, 90–4, 96, 97, 104–5, 123,

255, 285
Vitascope 20, 31
Vivaphone 76, 254
Vivre sa vie 199

Uchatius, Franz von 14–15
“Unfinished” Symphony 147, 149
United Artists 94, 105, 121, 139, 145, 162,

192, 265, 272
Urban, Charles 71, 268

Vagabond King, The 119, 260
Vampyr 101
Vaughan Williams, Ralph 152, 153, 170
Vertigo 184, 282
Visconti, Luchino 197, 224
Vogt, Hans 86
Von Tilzer 41
Voyage to America 265

Wachowski, Andy and Larry 230
Wagner, Geoffrey 257
Wagner, Richard 38, 43, 58, 59, 67, 91,

119, 129, 143–4, 150, 204, 215, 247,
249, 251, 264, 265, 289

“Waiting for the Robert E. Lee” 256
“Walkin’ Home with the Blues” 272
Walküre, Die 59
Wallenstein, Alfred 183
Walton, William 152, 153, 155, 170
Walsh, Michael 219, 276, 293
Walsh, Raoul 271
Ward, Edward 155
Warhol, Andy 219, 273
Warner Bros. 90–4, 103, 104–5, 114, 116,

120, 121, 123, 128, 145, 161, 162,
184, 186, 212, 215, 242, 255, 260, 265,
288

Warner Communications, Inc. 212
Warner, Harry 91, 92, 94, 255, 285
Warner, Sam 90
Warner’s Theatre 91, 92, 93
War of the Worlds 290
Warren, Harry 270
Washington, Ned 270, 272
Waugh, Patricia 276

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Waxman, Franz 145, 149, 152, 155, 181,
265

Way Down East 63, 123
Way We Were, The 193, 203, 272
“We Are Coming, Father Abraham” 60
Weber, Carl Maria von 38, 59, 238, 247,

249, 251
Weber, Horst, 240, 293
Weber, Joseph N. 105
Weber, William 238
Wefelmeyer, Bernd 239, 293
Weill, Kurt 148, 152, 265
Weis, Elisabeth 242, 256, 257, 259, 261,

274, 284, 291, 293
Welles, Orson 168
Wenders, Wim 278
Werrenrath, Reinald 92
West, George 57
West, Paul 247
West of Zanzibar 286
Western Electric 85–6, 87–8, 90, 91, 93,

105, 107, 209, 255
Wet Parade, The 127
What and How to Play for Moving Pictures

57
What and How to Play for Pictures 57, 246,

248, 279
What Price Glory 63
When Knighthood Was in Flower 63
Whiskey Galore 269
“White Christmas” 270
White Corridors 176
White Sister, The 63
Whiting, Richard E. 116
Whitman, Walt 189
Why Girls Leave Home 36, 246
Widerberg, Bo 223
Wierzbicki, James 240, 261, 268, 269, 270,

277, 293
Wilcox, Herbert 176
Wild at Heart 278
Wilder, Billy 168, 181
Wild One, The 179, 270, 281
Williams, Alan 94, 95, 241, 256, 293

Williams, Hank 272
Williams, John 204, 205, 206, 208, 210,

215, 217, 274, 275, 286, 291
Williams, Linda 251
Williams, Martin 268, 293
Williamson, James 25
Wills, Bob, and His Texas Playboys

272
Wilson, Mortimer 63
Wings 96
Winkler, Max 34, 36, 48, 50–3, 53, 55–7,

64–6, 246, 249, 250, 252, 294
Winter, Marian Hannah 155, 266, 294
Witmark 41, 114, 116
Wizard of Oz, The 177
Wolcott, Charles 167
Woman Commands, A 127
Woman on the Beach 240, 267
Wood, Arthur 56
World 64
Wright, Joe 230
Wruble, Allie 270
Wuthering Heights 208

“Yahrzeit Licht” 256
Yared, Gabriel 286
Yeats, William Butler 218–19
Yield to the Night 176
“You’ll Never Know” 270
Young Don’t Cry, The 265
Young, Victor 155, 181

Zamecnik, John Stepan 54–6, 57, 63
Zampa 59
Zemeckis, Robert 218, 222, 275
Zemlya zhazhdet 108
Zéro de conduite 239
Zimbalist, Efrem 91, 126
Zimmer, Hans 278
Zinnemann, Fred 176, 181
“Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah” 270
Zoëtrope 14–15, 255, 282
Zoopaxiscope 15
Zuro, Josiah 122

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