Category Archives: From the Director

The Chuck Berg Silent Film Music Collection

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

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SFSMA and Music for Villains at Atlas Obscura

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!

Full article at: http://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-the-quintessential-villains-melody-snuck-into-the-popular-consciousness

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New Music on SFSMA!

SFSMA is delighted to announce that it has completed adding more than 300 pieces and 2300 instrumental parts to the Archive, thanks to the GRAMMY Foundation and Ben Model/Silent Cinema Presentations, Inc. You can find these pieces by searching under “Grammy”–enjoy!

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SFSMA Guest Stars on Carolina Shout with Ethan Uslan

Ragtime pianist Ethan Uslan dedicates Episode 9 of Carolina Shout to music for the silent film from SFSMA! Ethan interviews SFSMA director Kendra Leonard and plays selections from the repertoire Ethan recorded for SFSMA thanks to a grant from the Society for American Music.

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New posts going up

Posts of the c. 300 pieces from the Silent Cinema Presentations, Inc./Ben Model collection have begun going up here on SFSMA thanks to our Grammy Foundation Preservation grant! You can search for these using “Grammy” in the search box. Almost all of these new entries into the SFSMA database have full orchestral parts, many of which were used in performance. Do you know what films any of this repertoire might have accompanied? Let us know if you have silent cinema programs, news clippings, or other information documenting the use of these works in the cinema!

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Now available! Music for Silent Film: A Guide to North American Resources

Music for Silent Film: A Guide to North American Resources by SFSMA director Kendra Leonard is now in print!

Music for Silent Film: A Guide to North American Resources is a unique resource on North American archives and English-language materials available in for those interested in this repertoire. Part I contains information about archives of primary source materials including full and compiled scores, sheet music, published anthologies of music, interviews with cinema musicians, periodicals, and instruction books. Part II surveys the English-language scholarship on silent film music in articles, book chapters, essay collections, and monographs through 2015. The book is fully indexed for ease of access to these important sources on film music.

Contents:

Preface

Acknowledgements

Introduction

Part 1: Primary Sources

1. Archival Collections

2. Rental and Lending Libraries

3. Instruction Books

4. Photoplay Albums

5. Interviews

6. Books

7. Articles

Part 2: Secondary Sources

8. Scholarly Books

9. Scholarly Articles

Name Index

Title Index

Film Title Index

Subject Index

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New audio recordings by Ethan Uslan

I’m delighted to announce that SFSMA now has recordings of more than twenty individual pieces as well as multiple cues from three film scores available in addition to sheet music, instruction books, and other materials. Thanks to the Society for American Music’s 2016 Sight and Sound Award, SFSMA was able to commission silent film pianist Ethan Uslan to record and engineer a selection of published works by prominent silent film composers. Audio files are presented in .aif format, which offer outstanding uncompressed sound and is playable with Windows Media Player, iTunes, VLC, QuickTime, and other audio programs. All of the recordings are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International license.

SFSMA would love to add to this collection of audio recordings. If you are interested in sponsoring or helping support our next recording project, please contact me at director [at] sfsma [dot] org.

To listen to the recordings, follow the links below to each piece, or search SFSMA using keyword: “audio.”

Enjoy!

Kendra Leonard, Director of the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive

Score Selections

  1. Colburn, George. Antony and Cleopatra, Nos. 7-10, “7. Cleopatra, ‘Behold Noble Antony;” “8. Having gained Antony’s consent;” “9. Cleopatra prepares for Antony’s visit;” and “10. The Eternal Feminine” (Chicago: George Kleine Productions, 1914). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/antony-and-cleopatra
  2. Hinrichs, George, and Max (Moe) Winkler. The Phantom of the Opera, Nos. 2; 13-14, “Meanwhile in Christine’s Dressing Room” and “I Shall Sing for You” (New York: Belwin, 1925). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/the-phantom-of-the-opera
  3. Hoffman, Michael. The Sea Beast, Nos. 9 and 12, “Down Rope” and “A Hundred Leagues.” (New York: Descriptive Film Music Co., 1926). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/the-sea-beast

Individual pieces

  1. Allen, Thomas S. “Dance of the Lunatics,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Schottisches and Caprices, No. 2 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/jacobs-piano-folio-of-schottisches-and-caprices-no-2
  2. Baron, Maurice. “Radio Message,” Belwin Folio of Galops (New York: Belwin, 1917). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/folio-of-galops
  3. Berge, Irenee. “Pizzicato (Petit Ballet),” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Animal Cartoonix (New York: Belwin, 1925). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/pianorgan-film-books-of-incidental-music-vol-1-animal-cartoonix
  4. Boehnlein, Victor G. “Fairy Flirtations,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Schottisches and Caprices, No. 1 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/jacobs-piano-folio-of-schottisches-and-caprices-no-1
  5. Borch, Gaston. “Misterioso Infernale,” Schirmer’s Photoplay Series Vol. 4 (New York: G. Schirmer, 1918). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/schirmers-photoplay-series-vol-1-6
  6. Breil, Joseph Carl. “Molto Agitato (for storms, battles fires, explosions, and consequent mob excitement, followed by victory or rescue),” Joseph Carl Breil’s Original Collection of Dramatic Music for Motion Picture Plays (New York: Chappell, 1917). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/joseph-carl-breils-original-collection-of-dramatic-music-for-motion-picture-plays
  7. Cobb, George L. “Sing ling ting,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Oriental, Spanish, and Indian Music, No. 1 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/jacobs-piano-folio-of-oriental-spanish-and-indian-music-no-1
  8. Lake, M. L. and Lester Brockton. “Hurry (for general use),” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/carl-fischers-loose-leaf-motion-picture-collection
  9. ———. “Agitato (sudden or impending danger).” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/agitato
  10. ———. “Lamento (Scenes of grief and sadness).” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/carl-fischers-loose-leaf-motion-picture-collection
  11. Leigh, Norman. “Woodland Dance,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Novelettes, No. 6 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/jacobs-piano-folio-of-novelettes-no-6
  12. Luz, Ernst. “Storm Scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.9 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1915). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/a-b-c-dramatic-set-no-9
  13. ———. “Western Scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.11 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1915). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/a-b-c-dramatic-set-no-11
  14. ———. “Hungarian or mythical foreign scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.18 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1916). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/a-b-c-dramatic-set-no-18
  15. Rapée, Erno. “Three Grotesque Themes,” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Grotesque and Comedy Music (New York: Belwin, 1925). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/pianorgan-film-books-of-incidental-music-vol-1-grotesque-and-comedy-music
  16. Winkler, Max (Moe.) “Dramatic Suspense,” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Book of Dramatic Tensions (New York: Belwin, 1925). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/pianorgan-film-books-of-incidental-music-vol-1
  17. Wright, N. Louise. “Lullaby,” Motion Picture Moods, ed. Erno Rapée (G. Schirmer, New York, 1924). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/motion-picture-moods
  18. Zamecnik, J. S. “Misterioso (stealth, horror, dark scenes),” Sam Fox Photoplay Edition, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1919). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/sam-fox-photoplay-edition-vol-1
  19. ———. “Varsity Cadets,” Sam Fox March Folio, Vol. 2 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1923). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/fox-march-folio-vol-2
  20. ———. “Love Came Calling,” Sam Fox Loose Leaf Collection of Select Song Themes for Orchestra, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1924). http://www.sfsma.org/ark/22915/sam-fox-select-themes-vol-1

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SFSMA wins a GRAMMY Preservation Grant

The GRAMMY Foundation® Grant Program has awarded the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive a 2016 Preservation Implementation grant.

The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive will digitize the Silent Cinema Presentations, Inc. Collection managed by Ben Model, an important private collection of silent film music, and make it freely accessible through an online repository of silent film music. The collection contains rare volumes of music from Europe and America, all of which offers insight into the composition and performance of music for silent films.

We at SFSMA are grateful to the GRAMMY Foundation for its support and are looking forward to getting the project underway.

 

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SFSMA Recording Project Wins Society for American Music Sight and Sound Subvention

The Society for American Music has awarded its 2016 Sight and Sound Subvention to SFSMA director Kendra Leonard for the project “Scoring the Silver Screen from ‘Fairy Flirtations’ to The Sea Beast: Recordings of Repertoire from the Silent Film Sound and Music Archive.”

The subvention will fund the collaboration between SFSMA, Leonard, and professional silent film accompanist Ethan Uslan in creating twenty-five recordings of representative samples of the music archived by SFSMA. These recordings will accompany the sheet music for each selected piece on the SFSMA website and will be licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial for anyone to use for free. SFSMA anticipates that the recordings will be posted to the Archive in September 2016.

All of the recordings will be made by Ethan Uslan. Uslan, the three-time winner of the World Championship Old-Time Piano Playing Contest, is a frequent accompanist for silent film projections and has performed as such across the United States as well as in Europe. In accompanying silent films, Uslan, who also holds a degree in music librarianship, frequently plays period music and has created a number of compiled scores for films that use music available at the time of and even recommended for individual motion pictures by leading accompanists of the 1910s and 1920s. Uslan’s deep understanding of the repertoire and performance practices of this era will ensure outstanding recordings.

The recordings will include the following:

Score Selections

  1. Colburn, George. Antony and Cleopatra, Nos. 7-10, “7. Cleopatra, ‘Behold Noble Antony;” “8. Having gained Antony’s consent;” “9. Cleopatra prepares for Antony’s visit;” and “10. The Eternal Feminine” (Chicago: George Kleine Productions, 1914).
  2. Hinrichs, George, and Max (Moe) Winkler. The Phantom of the Opera, Nos. 13-14, “Meanwhile in Christine’s Dressing Room” and “I Shall Sing for You” (New York: Belwin, 1925).
  3. Hoffman, Michael. The Sea Beast, Nos. 9 and 12, “Down Rope” and “A Hundred Leagues.” (New York: Descriptive Film Music Co., 1926).

Individual pieces

  1. Allen, Thomas S. “Dance of the Lunatics,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Schottisches and Caprices, No. 2 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921).
  2. Boehnlein, Victor G. “Fairy Flirtations,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Schottisches and Caprices, No. 1 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921).
  3. Borch, Gaston. “Misterioso Infernale,” Schirmer’s Photoplay Series Vol. 4 (New York: G. Schirmer, 1918).
  4. Breil, Joseph Carl. “Molto Agitato (for storms, battles fires, explosions, and consequent mob excitement, followed by victory or rescue),” Joseph Carl Breil’s Original Collection of Dramatic Music for Motion Picture Plays (New York: Chappell, 1917).
  5. Cobb, George L. “Sing ling ting,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Oriental, Spanish, and Indian Music, No. 1 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921).
  6. Dutton, Theodora. “Valzer Appassionato,” Motion Picture Moods, ed. Erno Rapée (G. Schirmer, New York, 1924).
  7. Kempinski, Leo A. “Descriptive Agitato,” Photo Play Incidental Symphonies No. 7 (New York: Photo Play, 1922-24).
  8. Lake, M. L. and Lester Brockton. “Hurry (for general use),” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915).
  9. ———. “Agitato (sudden or impending danger).” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915).
  10. ———. “Lamento (Scenes of grief and sadness).” Carl Fischer’s Loose Leaf Motion Picture Collection (New York: Carl Fischer, 1915).
  11. Leigh, Norman. “Woodland Dance,” Jacobs’ Piano Folio of Novelettes, No. 6 (Boston: Walter Jacobs, Inc., 1921).
  12. Luz, Ernst. “Storm Scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.9 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1915).
  13. ———. “Western Scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.11 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1915).
  14. ———. “Hungarian or mythical foreign scene,” A.B.C. Dramatic Set No.18 (New York: Photoplay Music Co., 1916).
  15. Rapée, Erno. “Three Grotesque Themes,” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Grotesque and Comedy Music (New York: Belwin, 1925).
  16. ———. “Animal Cartoonix,” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Animal Cartoonix (New York: Belwin, 1925).
  17. Strickland, Lily. “Dance of the Young Maidens,” Motion Picture Moods, ed. Erno Rapée (G. Schirmer, New York, 1924).
  18. Winkler, Max (Moe.) “Dramatic Suspense,” PianOrgaN Film Books of Incidental Music, Vol. 1: Book of Dramatic Tensions (New York: Belwin, 1925).
  19. Wright, N. Louise. “Lullaby,” Motion Picture Moods, ed. Erno Rapée (G. Schirmer, New York, 1924).
  20. Zamecnik, J. S. “Misterioso (stealth, horror, dark scenes),” Sam Fox Photoplay Edition, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1919).
  21. ———. “Varsity Cadets,” Sam Fox March Folio, Vol. 2 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1923).
  22. ———. “Love Came Calling,” Sam Fox Loose Leaf Collection of Select Song Themes for Orchestra, Vol. 1 (Cleveland: Sam Fox Pub. Co., 1924).

 

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Chaplin mania

We’ve just posted new music by and about Charlie Chaplin! Many thanks to Terry L. Baldridge for donating scans of this great music.

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