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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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Curtailing a Song

Curtailing a Song

Toward the Classical Background Score

(p.119) 5 Curtailing a Song
Saying It With Songs

Katherine Spring

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 accounts for the emergence of the plausible integration of songs, an approach that developed in tandem with the diminished use of the popular song and the rise of the orchestral background film score. The chapter recounts the debates in the trade press over the perceived problem that the motion picture song posed: songs threatened narrative coherence and continuity. As the vogue for motion picture songs diminished, the studios cut their branch publishing offices, reduced the staffs of music departments, and employed in-house composers who attempted to cultivate a musical aesthetic based on the Romantic traditions of orchestral scoring. Case studies of In Old Arizona (1929) and Safe in Hell (1931) illustrate some of the practices enacted for the plausible incorporation of songs. These analyses also reveal the use of intermittent scoring that is typically associated with the classical Hollywood film score in subsequent years.

Keywords:   narrative, film, popular songs, classical Hollywood cinema, film score, In Old Arizona, Safe in Hell

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