Friday, March 23, 2018

Radio show music

I have posted to my Google Drive a PDF file titled "Tables of Contents for Radio Show Music Collections": link.

This file has complete TOCs for the following volumes of sheet music, several of which (those by Feibel and Gart) have been discussed in blog posts in recent weeks.
1. Fred Feibel. Comedy Cues. NY: Emil Ascher, 1943.
2. Fred Feibel. Modern Improvisations for Radio Shows. NY: Emil Ascher, 1939.
3. John Gart. At the Console: Organ Themes. NY: Emil Ascher, 1942.
4. John Gart. Network Themes: Music for Radio Shows. NY: Emil Ascher, 1942.
5. John Gart. Serial Moods: A Collection of 54 Dramatic Cues for Radio Shows. NY: Emil Ascher. 1946.
6. Louis Katzman and Milton Rettenberg. Bridges, Moods, Interludes: Original, Incidental and Background Music for Radio, Drama and Professional or Amateur Theatrical Productions. NY: Broadcast Music, 1943.
7. Lew White. Script Themes. NY: Emil Ascher, 1942.
Katzman and Rettenberg's volume is of interest because it reveals that traditional ideas of the compatibility of music in theatre and film remained strong at least into the 1940s. In Hearing the Movies we write that "it’s easy to forget that melodrama and serious dramatic stage plays in the late 1800s routinely had music, too. For example, one of the most familiar pieces of nineteenth-century concert music—the two Peer Gynt suites of Edvard Grieg—originated as incidental music for Ibsen’s play of that name" (Introduction to Part II, p. 89). In Katzman and Rettenberg's subtitle notice the easy linkage of "incidental" and "background."

The authors, as they assert in their Foreword, had worked in radio from its beginnings as a viable commercial entity in the 1920s, so that we can take seriously this statement about the flexibility needed in live musical performance: "It is obviously not necessary to adhere strictly to the indicated dynamics and tempi, since variations in treatment may add to the value of the music for individual scripts or scenes."