Friday, May 8, 2009

Photoplay Music

The Exhibitor's Trade Review was a trade paper started by W. Stephen Bush at the end of 1916. Bush had formerly been a contributing editor at Moving Picture World. ETR was distinguished from the start by a very generous music section, which generally ran for several (newspaper-sized) pages and included a column by S. M. Berg (a music publisher specializing in music for film) as well as extensive cue sheets. In April of 1917, the music section began publishing items out of Berg's catalog. Here is the first example (from 14 April 1917), an Allegro Agitato (a type of hurry) by Carl Kiefert.

Notice the highly modular structure, which would allow the player to expand and contract the music as needed. As is typical of hurries, the basic phrase structure at the 8-measure unit is sentential, with a 2-bar basic idea, a repetition of that basic idea, and 4-bar continuation that leads to a cadence. In the first two instances, Kiefert then pairs two sentences with complementary half and full cadences into compound (or double) periods. (The second set of 16 measures is actually a bit more complicated, as m. 24 is actually a tonicized arrival in the minor dominant, but this E-minor chord serves a similar structural function to a half cadence at the level of the compound period.) The third set of 16 measures (p. 2) is similar, except that each of the 8-measure phrases ends with some sort of half-cadence. The fourth and final set of 16 measures is an actual 16-measure sentence, with a 4-measure basic idea, which is repeated, and then an 8-measure continuation.

A PDF scan of the piece is available here.

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