Scoring Ramona

Everything related to researching, scoring and performing music with silent film.
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johnboles

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostThu Apr 24, 2014 5:47 pm

Make the comparison for yourself. Here is a clip from "Cobra" 1925. The first time the clip is played
you will be hearing an excerpt from the soundtrack recorded in 1928 for "A Woman Of Affairs".
The second time the clip is played you will hear the "Mont Alto Orchestra" with a single off key violin playing as issued on DVD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns7Uy7kmlio
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Donald Binks

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostThu Apr 24, 2014 6:19 pm

johnboles wrote:Make the comparison for yourself. Here is a clip from "Cobra" 1925. The first time the clip is played
you will be hearing an excerpt from the soundtrack recorded in 1928 for "A Woman Of Affairs".
The second time the clip is played you will hear the "Mont Alto Orchestra" with a single off key violin playing as issued on DVD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns7Uy7kmlio


Rodney, I would be speaking to my solicitor with a view to pressing a suit for libel - or at the very least, an infringement of copyright.
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"I tawt I taw a Pooty Tat. I did! I did taw a Pooty Tat!
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johnboles

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostThu Apr 24, 2014 6:58 pm

If you are commenting upon or critiquing a copyrighted work — for instance, writing a book review — fair use principles allow you to reproduce some of the work to achieve your purposes.

I assume you thought that the score recorded in 1928 suited the picture much better than the modern
anachronistic score, otherwise you wouldn't have been so upset.





Donald Binks wrote:
johnboles wrote:Make the comparison for yourself. Here is a clip from "Cobra" 1925. The first time the clip is played
you will be hearing an excerpt from the soundtrack recorded in 1928 for "A Woman Of Affairs".
The second time the clip is played you will hear the "Mont Alto Orchestra" with a single off key violin playing as issued on DVD:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ns7Uy7kmlio


Rodney, I would be speaking to my solicitor with a view to pressing a suit for libel - or at the very least, an infringement of copyright.
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Rodney

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostThu Apr 24, 2014 8:35 pm

And as I suspected, your orchestra is not an authentic silent film orchestra at all. It's a 1928 recording studio orchestra playing music that was never played live in a movie theater. It's a fine sound, but it was never part of the repertoire of silent film orchestras (it was arranged for this orchestra specifically, as you can tell by the harp; custom arrangements were a luxury that few actual silent film orchestras would have had time for). Combined with the very tinny mono recording (as opposed to the rich live sound you'd get with live musicians, which we attempt to recreate with modern stereo recording) that is not an accurate sound for anything prior to the invention of sound tracks in 1928. Woman of Affairs Is really an early talkie score, it's just on a film that was made using silent techniques.

Your titles complain about the presence of a trumpet in the Mont Alto section, but that's just another joke at your expense: Cobra was a fairly low budget project, so I didn't use trumpet at all. A trumpet is accidentally listed in the credits, but that was an error on the part of the DVD producers, who used the credits for Destiny by mistake. So, on the other thread, when I suspected that you couldn't distinguish a cornet from a trumpet, I was seriously overestimating your abilities: you can't even tell a trumpet from no trumpet at all. You might update your title cards.

The musical selections played by Mont Alto is not "modern music garbage," but starts with the "Raindrop" Prelude written by Chopin in 1838. It's often considered a masterpiece of composition. Originally composed for piano, various orchestrations were available to silent film orchestras, but this one I arranged from the partial piano transcription in Erno Rapée's 1925 book "Motion Picture Moods." Which was written, of course, as a repertoire for silent film musicians. It was a popular book, so this piece (unlike the Woman of Affairs excerpt) was used in actual silent film theaters for actual silent film scores.

The second piece is nice -- thanks for reminding me of it. It's called "Thoughts, No. 35," the number because it was the 35th piece in Berg's Incidental Series, a set of pieces written specifically for silent film orchestras, as you can tell by the picture of the movie projector at the top of the page. Composed by the concert violinist Valentina Crespi and published in 1918, it was available to all theater orchestras when Cobra was being shown, and was doubtless heard in many actual silent movie theaters. As a violin solo piece by a violin soloist, thank goodness we didn't use a whole string section. It would have been syrupy as hell.

I have no big problem with using the 1928 score to A Woman of Affairs for Cobra, but I also like Carl Davis' work, and Stephen Horne's work, and many other out-of-the-decade-the-film-was-made musicians too. And I realize that you despise everything we've done because it doesn't sound like a 1928 goat-gland picture. But to label a 1928 non-silent film score as "authentic," and the Mont Alto's actual silent film music "Modern Music Garbage" is just plain ignorant.

Oh, and there's a clarinet in The Woman of Affairs sound track, so that one is not even authentic by the criteria of your title cards. And a lot of that audio sample is actually a violin solo, not a whole string section. You might want to update the cards. And then listen to a scene that actually calls for trumpet, for instance any of the battles in Wings, or a chase scene, or a fire, or a flood, or the score to a comedy like Spite Marriage, and you'll hear plenty of trumpets, even in your authentic (though non-silent film) orchestra sound tracks.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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johnboles

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostThu Apr 24, 2014 11:37 pm

Your quote about string sections being "syrupy as hell" says everything. Silent movie music is supposed to be romantic, elegant and "syrupy" The fact that you try to avoid that and think that sentimental music is bad shows how out of touch you are with the decade. Have you tried listening to recorded music from the period. I could easily use phonograph recordings from 1925 or any year from the silent era and most of the mainstream dance, vocal, salon and classical music will be played in that same syrupy way which you apparently detest. That was the style then. Try listening to these beautiful salon orchestra recordings if you want to hear what small ensembles or orchestras actually sounded like around 1925:

https://archive.org/details/TheArtistEn ... 27Complete

I very much doubt your orchestra could ever copy or even imitate that sound... but from what you have already said I know you wouldn't want to anyway. It is too "syrupy" "maudlin" "sentimental" "fit only for pansies" and probably other things it would be impolite to mention.

Everyone in the 1920's was listening to the Charleston, in your world, and the men all wore raccoon coats and the women had those funny head bands. :)

It is very funny that you think you can actually recreate the sound of the 1920's after ninety years have past when even a as early as the late 1930's Hollywood was producing films about the 1920's and couldn't even reproduce the appropriate music or fashion for what had only happened ten year prior. Just look at the film "The Roaring Twenties" 1939 - All the silly cliches are already there - even the raccoon coats... All done in Swing Style of course. LOL


As a violin solo piece by a violin soloist, thank goodness we didn't use a whole string section. It would have been syrupy as hell.





Rodney wrote:And as I suspected, your orchestra is not an authentic silent film orchestra at all. It's a 1928 recording studio orchestra playing music that was never played live in a movie theater. It's a fine sound, but it was never part of the repertoire of silent film orchestras (it was arranged for this orchestra specifically, as you can tell by the harp; custom arrangements were a luxury that few actual silent film orchestras would have had time for). Combined with the very tinny mono recording (as opposed to the rich live sound you'd get with live musicians, which we attempt to recreate with modern stereo recording) that is not an accurate sound for anything prior to the invention of sound tracks in 1928. Woman of Affairs Is really an early talkie score, it's just on a film that was made using silent techniques.

Your titles complain about the presence of a trumpet in the Mont Alto section, but that's just another joke at your expense: Cobra was a fairly low budget project, so I didn't use trumpet at all. A trumpet is accidentally listed in the credits, but that was an error on the part of the DVD producers, who used the credits for Destiny by mistake. So, on the other thread, when I suspected that you couldn't distinguish a cornet from a trumpet, I was seriously overestimating your abilities: you can't even tell a trumpet from no trumpet at all. You might update your title cards.

The musical selections played by Mont Alto is not "modern music garbage," but starts with the "Raindrop" Prelude written by Chopin in 1838. It's often considered a masterpiece of composition. Originally composed for piano, various orchestrations were available to silent film orchestras, but this one I arranged from the partial piano transcription in Erno Rapée's 1925 book "Motion Picture Moods." Which was written, of course, as a repertoire for silent film musicians. It was a popular book, so this piece (unlike the Woman of Affairs excerpt) was used in actual silent film theaters for actual silent film scores.

The second piece is nice -- thanks for reminding me of it. It's called "Thoughts, No. 35," the number because it was the 35th piece in Berg's Incidental Series, a set of pieces written specifically for silent film orchestras, as you can tell by the picture of the movie projector at the top of the page. Composed by the concert violinist Valentina Crespi and published in 1918, it was available to all theater orchestras when Cobra was being shown, and was doubtless heard in many actual silent movie theaters. As a violin solo piece by a violin soloist, thank goodness we didn't use a whole string section. It would have been syrupy as hell.

I have no big problem with using the 1928 score to A Woman of Affairs for Cobra, but I also like Carl Davis' work, and Stephen Horne's work, and many other out-of-the-decade-the-film-was-made musicians too. And I realize that you despise everything we've done because it doesn't sound like a 1928 goat-gland picture. But to label a 1928 non-silent film score as "authentic," and the Mont Alto's actual silent film music "Modern Music Garbage" is just plain ignorant.

Oh, and there's a clarinet in The Woman of Affairs sound track, so that one is not even authentic by the criteria of your title cards. And a lot of that audio sample is actually a violin solo, not a whole string section. You might want to update the cards. And then listen to a scene that actually calls for trumpet, for instance any of the battles in Wings, or a chase scene, or a fire, or a flood, or the score to a comedy like Spite Marriage, and you'll hear plenty of trumpets, even in your authentic (though non-silent film) orchestra sound tracks.
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Donald Binks

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostFri Apr 25, 2014 12:14 am

I really can't fathom what the blazes you are talking about?

There were many different styles of music and interpretations of those styles in the 1920's and the same exists today.

The written form of music sets down in concrete how something should be played - and if you have a score written in the 1920's plus an orchestration from the same period - and good musicians - you can easily recreate the music. Do you really think - in the same vein - that licence has been taken with classical music?

I think that you have put too much sock in the gramophone horn!
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Rodney

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostFri Apr 25, 2014 2:02 am

johnboles wrote:Your quote about string sections being "syrupy as hell" says everything. Silent movie music is supposed to be romantic, elegant and "syrupy" The fact that you try to avoid that and think that sentimental music is bad shows how out of touch you are with the decade. Have you tried listening to recorded music from the period.


Of course, I said nothing of the kind. We use sentimental music in every single score. I said that the piece Thoughts, by Valentina Crespi, would be syrupy as hell with full strings, and I stand by that statement. I also say that I love the piece, and it is plenty emotional enough for that scene the way we played it. We are not trying to be the Victor Orchestra, nor would I want to be. We are recreating one relatively common version of the myriads of small ensembles, playing chamber style with no conductor, that played a vast repertoire that is to this date largely unrecorded. There are virtually no historic audio recordings of the kind of ensembles we are reviving (though there's plenty of documentation that they existed and were almost ubiquitous), but they certainly would have sounded nothing like the Victor Orchestra.

It's clear now that your claim of our "inauthenticity" was just a way to say you don't care for the way we play this music, though it appeared to be a mistaken belief that we don't actually use authentic source music. I can assure you, you wouldn't have liked the music in an actual 1920s movie theater either.

As for this:
Everyone in the 1920's was listening to the Charleston, in your world, and the men all wore raccoon coats and the women had those funny head bands. :)


To paraphrase Woody Allen, "You know nothing of my work."

It's clear that you are not learning anything from the useful information that is being posted in response to your bizarre and fact-free tirades. (Can you at least admit now that many silent film orchestras used clarinets and trumpets, having seen ample photos and historical documentation? Or is this a climate-change-denial, no-amount-of-evidence-will-ever-shift-my-rock-of-faith sort of deal for you?)

It is also clear that although you love the sound of large orchestras of the early talkie era, you have nothing useful or informed to teach anyone here about silent film music as played in movie theaters. And on top of it, you've been unnecessarily dickish in every single post. Good day. I'm done.
Rodney Sauer
The Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra
www.mont-alto.com
"Let the Music do the Talking!"
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johnboles

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Re: Scoring Ramona

PostFri Apr 25, 2014 6:16 pm

There is no problem with adding whatever instrument you like as long as you have the strings first. I was talking about small orchestra with less than 10 musicians. The most important instruments for small orchestras as listed by Erno Rapee and others are:

Piano or Organ or Both
4 1st violins
2nd violin
Viola
Cello
String Bass

Let me quote from a book from 1920 on the proper formation of small orchestras:

The First Violins are the mainstay of the orchestra. In
fact, it is the presence of violins which make an orchestra.
An
organization which consists of only wood wind and brass is
termed a band.


No matter what the individual proficiency of the players
of the first violins taken singly may be, when eight or ten are
brought together to play, drilling in a body separate from the
rest of the orchestra is absolutely necessary to attain the best
musical results.


In short, the first violins should be as perfect in their playing
as possible so that when they come to rehearsal they
will be the support of the other instruments of the orchestra
.
An amateur orchestra possessing good first violins has much to
be congratulated upon and most decidedly has a very great ad-
vantage over others not so fortunate.


On The Internet Archive at:
https://archive.org/stream/cu3192401772 ... 9/mode/2up" target="_blank" target="_blank


Though violas are essential for the completion of the
string quartet
, players for these instruments are not any too
plentiful even in the amateur orchestras of our large cities.
So if the out-of-town community orchestra cannot obtain play-
ers for the viola, as a substitute we suggest that violins be
strung with viola strings which would fairly well take their
place.


We assume that the community orchestra has already a
cello and a double bass for they are among the most important
constituents of the orchestra and absolutely indispensable for
the complete and artistic rendition of orchestral music.


No instrument is more capable of enriching the tones of
the ensemble even when it is not individually perceptible than
the cello, which is the soul of the orchestra.


https://archive.org/stream/cu3192401772 ... 3/mode/2up" target="_blank" target="_blank

The many small orchestras in the moving picture theatres
at the present time, consisting of string, wood wind, piano and
organ, some of which play a good class of music in a very satis-
factory manner, demonstrate that the brass instruments are not
indispensable by any means for the rendition of all orchestral
music
.


https://archive.org/stream/cu3192401772 ... 1/mode/2up" target="_blank" target="_blank



Synchronized Scores were recorded to sound exactly like what would be heard in the theaters. In early reviews for the first Synchronized films I have read that some audience members assumed an orchestra was actually playing while the film was being exhibited in many instances.

The problem with new "orchestras" is that the melody is not carried by the string section because there isn't any or there aren't enough string instruments.

Show me hard evidence to the contrary that can be verified by a link or some published material that can be scanned etc.


Rodney wrote:
johnboles wrote:Your quote about string sections being "syrupy as hell" says everything. Silent movie music is supposed to be romantic, elegant and "syrupy" The fact that you try to avoid that and think that sentimental music is bad shows how out of touch you are with the decade. Have you tried listening to recorded music from the period.


Of course, I said nothing of the kind. We use sentimental music in every single score. I said that the piece Thoughts, by Valentina Crespi, would be syrupy as hell with full strings, and I stand by that statement. I also say that I love the piece, and it is plenty emotional enough for that scene the way we played it. We are not trying to be the Victor Orchestra, nor would I want to be. We are recreating one relatively common version of the myriads of small ensembles, playing chamber style with no conductor, that played a vast repertoire that is to this date largely unrecorded. There are virtually no historic audio recordings of the kind of ensembles we are reviving (though there's plenty of documentation that they existed and were almost ubiquitous), but they certainly would have sounded nothing like the Victor Orchestra.

It's clear now that your claim of our "inauthenticity" was just a way to say you don't care for the way we play this music, though it appeared to be a mistaken belief that we don't actually use authentic source music. I can assure you, you wouldn't have liked the music in an actual 1920s movie theater either.

As for this:
Everyone in the 1920's was listening to the Charleston, in your world, and the men all wore raccoon coats and the women had those funny head bands. :)


To paraphrase Woody Allen, "You know nothing of my work."

It's clear that you are not learning anything from the useful information that is being posted in response to your bizarre and fact-free tirades. (Can you at least admit now that many silent film orchestras used clarinets and trumpets, having seen ample photos and historical documentation? Or is this a climate-change-denial, no-amount-of-evidence-will-ever-shift-my-rock-of-faith sort of deal for you?)

It is also clear that although you love the sound of large orchestras of the early talkie era, you have nothing useful or informed to teach anyone here about silent film music as played in movie theaters. And on top of it, you've been unnecessarily dickish in every single post. Good day. I'm done.
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