History of Film Music

“Charlie Chaplin composed his own music for City Lights (1931), Modern Times (1936) and Limelight (1952). That was the exception, and few film-makers would imitate him. He wasn’t clear at all whose job was to score the soundtracks…In the 1930s, after a few years of experimentation, scoring film soundtracks became an art in earnest thanks to a small group of foreign-born musicians, first and foremost two Austrian-born and classically-trained composers. Erich-Wolfgang Korngold’s coined a lush, overwhelming, operatic style with Michael Curtiz’s Captain Blood (1935) and especially The Adventures of Robin Hood(1938) and The Sea Hawk (1940).”

These are just some of the delightful facts in the “Film Music” chapter of Piero Scaruffi’s A History of Popular Music.


Charlie Chaplin played violin and cello, composed and conducted.

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