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Saying It With SongsPopular Music and the Coming of Sound to Hollywood Cinema$
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Katherine Spring

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199842216

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842216.001.0001

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Introduction

Introduction

Chapter:
(p.1) Introduction
Source:
Saying It With Songs
Author(s):

Katherine Spring

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199842216.003.0001

The Introduction posits the book's guiding question: How did popular songs influence the industrial organization and narrative form of Hollywood cinema during the conversion to sound, from 1927 through 1931? A case is presented for studying the use of songs in non-musical films, a loose category of genre consisting of films that tended to showcase, motivate, and integrate songs in ways that could not always be explained by appealing to the conventions of Broadway musical genres. Over the course of the transition to sound, the status of the popular song performance in non-musical films shifted from modular attraction to integrated narrative device. A study of this shift and its industrial context illuminates a rich period of heterogeneity of film form and style. The Introduction closes with brief summaries of the book's five chapters.

Keywords:   film musical, songs, popular music, Hollywood, film history, American film industry, Broadway, film narrative, transition to sound, coming of sound

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