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Film Music: A History explains the development of film music by considering large-scale aesthetic trends and structural developments alongside socioeconomic, technological, cultural, and philosophical circumstances.
The book’s four large parts are given over to Music and the "Silent" Film (1894—1927), Music and the Early Sound Film (1895—1933), Music in the "Classical-Style" Hollywood Film (1933—1960), and Film Music in the Post-Classic Period (1958—2008). Whereas most treatments of the subject are simply chronicles of "great film scores" and their composers, this book offers a genuine history of film music in terms of societal changes and technological and economic developments within the film industry. Instead of celebrating film-music masterpieces, it deals—logically and thoroughly—with the complex ‘machine’ whose smooth running allowed those occasional masterpieces to happen and whose periodic adjustments prompted the large-scale twists and turns in film music’s path.
Part One: Music and the "Silent" Film (1894–1927)
Chapter One: Origins, 1894–1905
Chapter Two: The Nickelodeon, 1905–1915
Chapter Three: Feature Films, 1915–1927
Part Two: ‘Classic’ Film Music (1927–1950)
Chapter Four: The Coming of Sound (1927–1929)
Chapter Five: Early Sound Films (1929–1933)
Chapter Six: Music in the Classical-Style Hollywood Film (1933–1950)
Part Three: Film Music in the Post-Classic Period (1950–2000)
Chapter Seven: Post-War Innovations; Struggle for Survival (1950–1960)
Chapter Eight: Eclecticism (1960–1980)
Chapter Nine: (1980–2000) New Definitions and New Uses of Film Music
Epilogue: (the twenty-first century)