Thank you to everyone who has supported SFSMA this year! We appreciate your time, material donations, and financial generosity in helping us continue to digitize and share music for the silent film! See our list of supporters and consider joining them in aid of our mission.
Category Archives: From the Director
We’ve just added 41 cue sheets from the collection of Adele V. Sullivan, a Colorado cinema accompanist whose papers are part of the Silent Film Music Collection at the University of Colorado-Boulder.
Sullivan’s papers are unique in that her work bridged the transition to sound. She performed from cue sheets for silent and part-talkie movies, then became responsible for synching up phonographs with films. The cues for the phonographs are fascinating and we’ll be posting them soon.
For today, though, we’ve catalogued the traditional cue sheets from her collection, which include cues for a number of lost films such as The Chinese Parrot, Code of the Scarlet, The Magnificent Flirt, and Shanghai Bound.
SFSMA Executive Director Kendra Leonard on the uses and adaptations of cue sheets for NewMusicBox: “Taking a Cue: Accompanying Early Film.” See SFSMA’s collection of cue sheets at http://www.sfsma.org/ARK/22915/category/cue-sheets/!
If you missed Leonard’s first article on music for silent film on NewMusicBox, you can still read it at “New Music for a New Art Form.”
SFSMA Executive Director Kendra Leonard has authored four articles for NewMusicBox on music for silent films old and new! Check out the first installment of this series at New Music for a New Art Form: Photoplay Music, which includes information on music for early cinema, excerpts from SFSMA-held scores, and recordings by Ethan Uslan.
Future articles will be on topics including how accompanists used (and altered and ignored) cue sheets; scoring silent films today using yesterday’s music; and new music for silent film.
We’ve just digitized and uploaded almost 60 cue sheets from the Silent Film Collection at the American Music Research Center at the University of Colorado, Boulder. These cue sheets were used by Claire Hamack, an accompanist, and include her notes and, in a few cases, her original themes for films. To find any of these, search for “Hamack.”
Thank you to those of you who donated to SFSMA on #GivingTuesday in support of digitizing Erno Rapee’s Motion Picture Moods! We raised $375.00. We are planning on one more round of fundraising in the spring and will digitize the book over the summer of 2018.
Donors (in alphabetical order):
Dr. Paula Bishop
Dr. Maribeth Clark
Dr. James Doering
Dr. Samuel N Dorf and Dr. Maria Kisel
Dr. Naomi Graber
Are you ready for #GivingTuesday? Want to help SFSMA bring more music to the world?
SFSMA wants to raise $750 to fund the digitization of Erno Rapee’s classic 1924 anthology of silent film music, Motion Picture Moods!
Motion Picture Moods contains more than 500 pieces of music organized by mood and by composers who both pre-date the silent film era and those who wrote specifically for the screen.
A benefactor has donated an original copy of the book to SFSMA, but we need to digitize it and add it to the catalogue, and that takes people power.
Help us fund this digitization! SFSMA will include all donor names on the main SFSMA website and on the catalogue page for the volume, and will send every donor a special SFSMA decal as a thank you!
You can donate directly at http://www.sfsma.org/
Dr. Colin Roust, Assistant Professor of Musicology at the University of Kansas School of Music, has been awarded an in-house General Research Fund grant to digitize the Chuck Berg Silent Film Music Collection. Working in conjunction with the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive (SFSMA.org), of which he is an officer, Roust will supervise and assist two University doctoral students, Brent Ferguson and Justin Sextro, in cataloguing, digitizing, and uploading the collection to SFSMA.org. over the summer.
Charles “Chuck” Berg (1941–2016), who taught film and media studies at the University of Kansas staring in 1977, donated his substantial music collections to KU’s Gorton Music and Dance Library in 2000. The Berg Collection includes the film music library of the Grand Opera House in Dubuque, IA. Built in 1890, the Grand was the premiere opera theatre in eastern Iowa at the turn of the century. In 1915, the theatre began showing silent films, a profitable decision that in 1928 led to its conversion into a full-time movie theatre. During the 14 years in which it screened silent films, the Grand’s music staff amassed a sizeable collection of pieces written specifically for accompanying silent films, often known as photoplay music. The Berg Collection’s photoplay music is especially valuable for researchers and present-day accompanists because it includes not just music for a single piano player, but full orchestral parts, which have been preserved in good condition and which feature a number of rehearsal and conducting notes that shed light on how the music was actually used.
The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive is delighted to have a hand in bringing this important collection to a wider audience and hopes to have the project completed by December 2017.
For further information, please contact:
Dr. Colin Roust, Assistant Professor, Musicology, KU, croust [at] ku.edu
Dr. Kendra Leonard, executive director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive, director [at] sfsma.org
Atlas Obscura writer Cara Giamio has been tracking down a cue for villains that earned its fame through parody. She contacted SFSMA director Kendra Leonard, SFSMA patron Ben Model, and Rodney Sauer of the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra on her way to the truth!