Library of Congress silent film music digitized

SFSMA board member Paul Allen Sommerfeld has been leading this project to digitize the Silent Film Scores and Arrangements Collection at the Library of Congress! It’s a great new resource for silent film music. Here’s what the library writes:

About this Collection

Music and sound have always served an integral role in film, and the Silent Film Scores and Arrangements digital collection offers unique insight into that development. The collection includes over 3,000 items published or created for use in silent film accompaniment between 1904 – 1927. These items include scores written for specific films, cue sheets that compile melodies for use at certain moments in specific films, and stock music composed or arranged for general use in silent film. Scores and arrangements included in this collection include piano scores, full or reduced orchestral scores, instrumental parts, or just melodic incipits. The majority of the items come from music publishers based in the United States and Europe, but some arrived as copyright submissions by everyday citizens. Composers from the famous to the obscure (many used pseudonyms) appear throughout the collection.

Items in this collection came from copyright submissions, the Jack Butterworth collection, and a gift from Mrs. Charles Moore. Also included, courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art (NYC), are microfilm scans of over 800 items physically held by the museum.

Some additional materials still protected by copyright are available to visitors onsite in the Library’s restricted Stacks website. They will be added to this digital collection as they enter the public domain.

CONTENT WARNING: Some titles and terminology used in this digital collection may reflect racist, sexist, ableist, misogynistic/misogynoir, and xenophobic opinions and attitudes that were deemed acceptable at the time of their publication.

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