BN.com Gift Guide

Silent Film Sound

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$99.75
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $22.94
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 78%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $22.94   
  • New (3) from $84.09   
  • Used (6) from $22.94   

Overview

"Silent Film Sound reconsiders all aspects of sound practices during the entire silent film period. Based on extensive original research and accompanied by illustrations, the book challenges the assumptions of earlier histories of this period in film and reveals the complexity and swiftly changing nature of American silent cinema." Contrary to received opinion, silent films were not always accompanied, nor were accompaniments uniform. Beginning with sound practices before cinema's first decade and continuing through to the more familiar sound practices of the 1920s, Rick Altman discusses the variety of sound strategies and the way early cinema exhibitors used these strategies to differentiate their products.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
It is axiomatic that silent films were never really silent. But anyone who thinks that the totality of their sound was a tinkling piano will be proved wrong by Altman (cinema & comparative literature, Univ. of Iowa). His weighty and ambitious purpose is to "develop a new history of American cinema reconfigured through sound." Altman prefaces his text with an overview of the increasing presence of mechanically produced sounds in the human environment of the latter half of the 19th century. He then explains that before the development of film, pictures were projected on a screen via lantern slides and other mechanisms and were often accompanied by live speakers and music. As early as the 1880s, various efforts were made to synchronize sound and image, including rudimentary methods like placing actors behind the screen and failed systems like the tongue-twisting Phonocinematophone. Altman offers an extensive discussion of the music played with films, whether randomly selected or specially composed; the orchestras and even the types of instruments used in theaters; and a very useful history of the development of the nickelodeon. Altman may not have fully accomplished his goal, but this thoroughly researched and copiously illustrated book is recommended for large libraries and all cinema collections.-Roy Liebman, California State Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Choice

Rather than reinventing the wheel or allowing for too many examples in his analysis, Altman successfully dispels notions of a homogenous turn-of-the-century soundscape and interweaves salient but ignored aspects of early cinema and its coinciding entertainments...Highly recommended.

New Review of Film and Television - Marshall Deutelbaum

Rick Altman's Silent Film Sound is revisionist film history at its best.

Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film - Jacob Smith

Nothing short of a classic, definitive work.

Film Criticism - Kecia D. McBride

His groundbreaking, encyclopedic book represents a crucial contribution to the scholarly understanding not only of early film sound, but also of the full range of film history.

Film Quarterly - Tom Gunning

Rick Altman has given us a magnum opus... a stunningly original work of film history.

Screening The Past - Dana Polan

[A] majestic book... Readable as the most complete account of early American cinema.

Film International - Katherine Spring

Silent Film Sound is a superb contribution to many scholarly fields in addition to film history, including musicology, media studies, sound studies and American history.

Cinemas Journal

A magisterial effort of a type rarely seen in cinema today... Altman's history is precise, reflective, and human.

New Review of Film and Television
Rick Altman's Silent Film Sound is revisionist film history at its best.

— Marshall Deutelbaum

Nineteenth Century Theatre and Film
Nothing short of a classic, definitive work.

— Jacob Smith

American Studies

A major contribution to the history of early cinema.

Film Criticism
His groundbreaking, encyclopedic book represents a crucial contribution to the scholarly understanding not only of early film sound, but also of the full range of film history.

— Kecia D. McBride

Film Quarterly
Rick Altman has given us a magnum opus... a stunningly original work of film history.

— Tom Gunning

Screening The Past
[A] majestic book... Readable as the most complete account of early American cinema.

— Dana Polan

Film International
Silent Film Sound is a superb contribution to many scholarly fields in addition to film history, including musicology, media studies, sound studies and American history.

— Katherine Spring

California Bookwatch

Silent Film Sound is a top pick for any serious college-level film library.

Groove Magazine - Steve Ramm

Edison's pioneering work...is given a large amount of space in a fascinating new book.

Bookwatch

Silent Film Soundis a bible of reference information and vintage photos.

Groove Magazine
Edison's pioneering work...is given a large amount of space in a fascinating new book.

— Steve Ramm

Choice

Rather than reinventing the wheel or allowing for too many examples in his analysis, Altman successfully dispels notions of a homogenous turn-of-the-century soundscape and interweaves salient but ignored aspects of early cinema and its coinciding entertainments...Highly recommended.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231116626
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 12/22/2004
  • Series: Film and Culture Series
  • Pages: 528
  • Product dimensions: 8.12 (w) x 10.54 (h) x 1.37 (d)

Meet the Author

Rick Altman is professor of cinema and comparative literature at the University of Iowa. He is the author of The American Film Musical and Film/Genre; the editor of Sound Theory Sound Practice; and the coeditor of The Sounds of Early Cinema.

Columbia University Press

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 The history of silent film sound 5
2 Crisis historiography 15
3 The musical scene 27
4 Lecture logic 55
5 From peep show to projection 77
6 Vaudeville 95
7 The crisis of the late aughts 119
8 Lectures, sound effects, and the itinerant exhibition model 133
9 Films that talk 157
10 The nickelodeon program 181
11 Nickelodeon music 203
12 Trade press discourse 231
13 Music for films 249
14 Training musicians, training audiences 271
15 Moving picture orchestras come of age 289
16 New roles for keyboard instruments 321
17 Cue sheets and photoplay music 345
18 Musical practices 367
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)