Most people's view of silent film music is of a pianist playing old warhorse scores while watching the flickering screen. This innovative book shows that there was much more to silent film music and that often it was planned from the start as an integral part of the film. The first of three volumes investigating film music, this book devotes one chapter to films before 1900 and Camille Saint-Saens's score for L'Assassinat du Duc de Guise (1908).
Another chapter looks closely at film scores composed by Walter Cleveland Simon for several films of 1912. The two main chapters are devoted to significant films of the silent period, D.W. Griffith's The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Rene Clair's Entr'acte (1924). Breil's Birth of a Nation score was a compilation of
many sources, but, when played by an orchestra accompanying the film in a theatre showing, it often matched the epic nature of the film and was one source of its great popularity.
Martin Miller Marks is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Music and Theater Arts at MIT. He has written and spoken extensively on the history of film music, and also frequently performs piano accompaniment for silent films.