=== === ============= ==== === === == == = == == === == == == == ==== === == == == == == == == = = == == == == == == == == ====
M U S I C T H E O R Y O N L I N E
A Publication of the Society for Music Theory Copyright (c) 1993 Society for Music Theory +-------------------------------------------------------------+ | Volume 0, number 2 April, 1993 ISSN: 1067-3040 | +-------------------------------------------------------------+
General Editor Lee Rothfarb
Co-Editors David Butler Justin London Elizabeth West Marvin David Neumeyer Gregory Proctor
Reviews Editor Claire Boge
Consulting Editors Bo Alphonce Thomas Mathiesen Jonathan Bernard Benito Rivera John Clough John Rothgeb Nicholas Cook Arvid Vollsnes Allen Forte Robert Wason Stephen Hinton Gary Wittlich
Editorial Assistants Natalie Boisvert Cynthia Gonzales
All queries to: firstname.lastname@example.org +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ AUTHOR: Kosovsky, Bob TITLE: Commentary on Neumeyer's MTO 0.1 essay REFERENCE: mto.93.0.1.neumeyer.art
I believe that the derivations of film music stem not so much from opera or "serious music" (or "classical music" - whatever you want to call it -- the stuff you go to a concert hall to hear) but from more of the popular idioms of the time. Now granted, operatic and symphonic music were used in abundance to accompany silent films (Ride of the Valkyries accompanied the ride of the KKK in Griffith's BIRTH OF A NATION (1915) -- but so were popular tunes of the day. (Momentary excursis: part of the problem I'm having in separating classical from popular music genres stems occurs from a time -- prior to WW I -- when such distinctions are not as clear as they would later become.)
And I think that it's also not a question of what was used, but HOW it was used. Basing my understanding of silent film music mostly on early sound films (those in which there was a syncronized soundtrack without dialogue -- and such films dating from the late 1920s and early 1930s, must represent an advanced stage of silent film music compositional art -- e.g. DON JUAN (1926), SUNRISE (1927), even CITY LIGHTS (1931)), I would say that the use of music is not really like what you find in opera. In fact, I would say that the use of music in silent films probably bears a closer resemblance to music that was used in Broadway shows. When I first heard that recent recording of SHOW BOAT, I was amazed to hear the unsung music ("background music" -- not in the Schenkerian sense!) because it worked in the same way as does the silent films with music that I've seen. Though the opera-to-movies path seems tempting, I think the available evidence does not follow it.
One additional tangential note. The usually-heard story about Schoenberg and movies is based on the one from the biography by Willi Reich. In brief, it states that the head of MGM was considering Schoenberg as a composer for THE GOOD EARTH. Schoenberg stated his conditions: "I want $50,000, and a guarantee that not one note will be changed" -- "Thus ends the relationship of Schoenberg to the movies" says Reich. But in fact there must be more. According to the catalogs of the Arnold Schoenberg institute, there exists quite a bit of music written for THE GOOD EARTH and for another film (of which I don't remember the title). It would be interesting to examine these sketches as evidence of how Schoenberg envisioned the relationship of music to film, and to see how it relates to the Begleitungsmusik, Op. 34.
Bob Kosovsky Graduate Center -- Ph.D. Program in Music(student)/ City University of New York New York Public Library -- Music Division bitnet: email@example.com internet: firstname.lastname@example.org Disclaimer: My opinions do not necessarily represent those of my institutions. +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
8. Copyright Statement  Music Theory Online (MTO) as a whole is Copyright (c) 1993, all rights reserved, by the Society for Music Theory, which is the owner of the journal. Copyrights for individual items published in (MTO) are held by their authors. Items appearing in MTO may be saved and stored in electronic or paper form, and may be shared among individuals for purposes of scholarly research or discussion, but may *not* be republished in any form, electronic or print, without prior, written permission from the author(s), and advance notification of the editors of MTO.
 Any redistributed form of items published in MTO must include the following information in a form appropriate to the medium in which the items are to appear:
This item appeared in Music Theory Online in [VOLUME #, ISSUE #] on [DAY/MONTH/YEAR]. It was authored by [FULL NAME, EMAIL ADDRESS], with whose written permission it is reprinted here.
 Libraries may archive issues of MTO in electronic or paper form for public access so long as each issue is stored in its entirety, and no access fee is charged. Exceptions to these requirements must be approved in writing by the editors of MTO, who will act in accordance with the decisions of the Society for Music Theory. +=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+ END OF MTO ITEMS