In this paper I will attempt to give some details about music in silent movie period and in particular what role the jazz had played as part of the silent motion picture. Furthermore, I give try to illustrate the jazz music used by Chaplin for his films.
The difficulty of studying the nature of the music for motion pictures derives from the complexity of the medium. Films usually operate through “a conjunction of visual and auditory signals, research into film music requires an understanding of not one but two non-verbal systems of communication, as well as the problematical jargons with which we attempt to describe each of them in speech (Marks, 1997, p. 3)”. Currently, few scholars have mastered the field of such specialized studies as music in silent movies. Thus, I have to address that this paper has limitation based on the narrow specialization of the topic. The subject of film music is neglected by researchers, because it spans between two disciplines and its material presents many problems (Marks, 1997). Unlike concert music, film music exists only as an accompaniment to the film and is not included into a repertoire. Especially in music for silent movies, the primary material that has to be researched is not the music, but the film itself. Consequently, the film music in silent movies has to be studies together with a profound observation of the movie. Music in this sense is in the core of the research and the movie plot stays in the periphery (Marks, 1997). “As we view a film, our minds must contend with the ever-changing content of the moving image and the soundtrack. The individual elements (not just music, but also lighting, camera work, editing, and so forth) are submerged into the flow of images on the screen. Hence the engrossed audience rarely perceives these elements consciously; it is simply carried along by the stream of sights and sounds (Marks, 1997, p.4).”
Marks (1997) points out that most of our “information about