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A podcast from renowned silent film accompanist/historian Ben Model covering the techniques of creating and performing live scores to silent films, as well as a discussion of the language of silent cinema. Find what goes on in the mind of a silent film accompanist before, during and after playing for a show. Learn about the aesthetics of silent filmmaking and storytelling language.
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In this episode: Ben shares his experiences accompanying the silent era blockbuster “The Big Parade”, the rare Italian film “A’ Santanotte”, Laurel & Hardy shorts, and others; he and Kerr discuss the practices of creating leitmotifs on the fly during a show, and then repeating them later in the film’s score; there’s some deep info and history on th…
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In this episode: accompanying several films at MoMA in August of new restorations and a series of early color process silents; audience response difference between San Francisco Silent Film Festival and MoMA screening, and how this affected Ben’s score in NYC; Ben talks about pivoting when presented before a show with a change of running time or of…
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In this episode: Ben talks about preparing for his performance at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, his first time at the fest; his Undercrank Productions home video label celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2023; Ben talks about the two newly restored Tom Mix silent films that were released by Undercrank on Blu-ray in July; he shares some tip…
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In this episode: Ben talks about doing double-duty as both silent film accompanist and Blu-ray producer-distributor; Ben talks about accompanying “Clash of the Wolves” starring Rin-Tin-Tin at the TCM Classic Film Festival and the differences between this performance and the one of recording a score for this film, along; Kerr and Ben talk about the …
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In this episode: Ben and Kerr discyss about Ben’s process for creating and recording silent film scores for home-video releases, and how it differs from scoring a silent in performance. Ben talks about composing by using the start-stop possibilities of recording in place of traditional notation, as well as using underscoring to help audiences regis…
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In this episode: Ben and Kerr talk about the current theme music for the podcast and its impending replacement; Ben talks about playing for a recent screening of the newly restored Chaney film “The Unknown” and how he musically meets the issues of possible inadvertent laughter in this and other silent dramas; Ben and Kerr discuss Ernie Kovacs’ use …
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In this episode: Ben talks about scoring silent films that lack a traditional narrative – films made for educational purposes – and creating music that is more “visual” than what is usually done for silents; films discussed are the 1922 “Making of a Bronze Statue” and the 1970 “Spirals” produced by the Metropolitan Museum of Art; Ben has been hired…
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In this episode: Ben talks about the fun and challenges of playing a number of different organs at silent film shows during October and November in Ocean Grove NJ, Ursinus College in PA, and at the historic Everett Theatre in Delaware; Ben and Kerr discuss how often to use leitmotivs and some techniques Ben uses to create themes before or during a …
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In this episode: Ben reflects on his conversation with William Perry heard in the previous two episodes of the podcast; discusses how considering a show’s intended audience is part of his programming process; covers the different film options for Halloween shows; talks at length about his recent live-underscoring of the 1931 “Frankenstein” at the L…
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In this episode: Ben interviews composer, silent film pianist and television producer William Perry. Perry is probably best-remembered for his scores for the now-legendary television series “The Silent Years”, produced by Paul Killiam, that ran for two seasons on public television, in 1971 and 1975. For twelve years Perry was the music director and…
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In this episode: Ben interviews composer, silent film pianist and television producer William Perry. Perry is probably best-remembered for his scores for the now-legendary television series "The Silent Years", produced by Paul Killiam, that ran for two seasons on public television, in 1971 and 1975. For twelve years Perry was the music director and…
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In this episode: Ben accompanies a bunch of shows of silent serials during June, and talks about the musical challenges of accompanying serials and in scoring an entire program of them; Kerr and Ben continue their conversation about Ernie Kovacs's use of music, and discuss Kovacs' "Street Scene" video of Bartok's "Concerto For Orchestra", and for m…
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In this episode: Ben plays with holding back musically to help an audience of art deco fans connect with Valentino and Nazimova during a show of "Camille" (1921); he and Kerr Lockhart dig in to details about "Oriental Blues", the theme song Ernie Kovacs used for all of his shows from 1951-1962; and Ben discusses the various intricacies of live-scor…
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In this episode: Ben trusts his instincts and has a little magic happen during a show of "The Patsy"; makes a decision and tries something new when it comes to using a "characteristic" musical mode in scoring Keaton's "The Cameraman" and "The General"; pays tribute to Gilbert Gottfried and talks about getting to do a comedy bit with him when Ben wa…
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Ben talks about: being a guest accompanist at the 25th annual Kansas Silent Film Festival; playing for Edward Everett Horton in a Cathedral, and the use of a "Bowery waltz"; introducing Marcel Perez to fans at the KSFF; playing for William S. Hart in Brooklyn; being able to turn on a dime in underscoring and have it make sense musically; live-scori…
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Ben talks about: the process of scoring "Zander the Great" and "Beverly of Graustark" for home video release; a recent Kickstarter that funded super-quick; Marion Davies's talents as a silent film actor; teaching in-person and on-campus again after two years; accompanying Edward Everett Horton shorts and "The Fire Brigade" at the Museum of Modern A…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 8, which originally posted on February 4, 2015. Welcome – News from January: composing and performing music for Parallel Exit's "Everybody Gets Cake", running off-Bway thru Feb 8, 2015 – Recording: instrumental from "Cake" show: "A Shakespearean Smoke Break" – the restoration of Georges Melies' "A Trip to…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 7, which originally posted on January 21, 2015. Welcome – News from the road – December 2014 recap: the Silent Clowns Film Series, Chaplin Mutuals, Library of Congress holiday party, the Powers kids in "The Skeleton" – Recording: live performance, accompaniment to "Peter Pan", Peter saves Tinkerbell –Usin…
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Ben relates the journey of playing piano as part of a full orchestra live accompanying Chaplin’s City Lights under the baton of the score’s restorer, Timothy Brock, during the Silent Film Days Festival in Tromsø, Norway. Ben also explores how he experienced Chaplin’s score “from the inside” and what he learned about making music to support silent f…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 6, which originally posted on January 7, 2015. Welcome — Mea culpa, and welcome to the podcast reboot — The Silent Film Sound and Music Archive — My new DVD label Undercrank Productions and the LoC — Live performance: "My Best Girl" at St. Francis College — Using pre-existing music in film accompaniment —…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 5, originally posted on March 18, 2013. Welcome – A whirlwind week of performances and travel - 7 shows in 8 days Live performance: "The Mark of Zorro" at Central Baptist Church – Preparing for a performance: music prep, bench height, piano light, etc – Live performance: "My Best Girl" at Port Washington …
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 4, originally posted on January 14, 2013. Welcome – Playing the organ at the Library of Congress theater – My Kickstarter project to release rare/lost silents on DVD and YouTube – Live performance: Raymond Griffith in "You'd Be Surprised" at Silent Clowns – Listening to a film's spoken intro can give clue…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 3, originally posted on July 12, 2012. Welcome – Playing for "The Avenging Conscience" and "Paths to Paradise" – Live performance: "Paths to Paradise" at Silent Clowns – Thoughts on scoring "The Saphead" and "The Devil's Needle & Other Tales of Vice and Redemption" on DVD from Kino Lorber – Downloadable m…
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of episode 2, originally posted on June 29, 2012. Welcome – report on what was the first “Mostly Lost” film identification workshop – live performance recording "Ten Commandments" on Steere & Sons organ in Brooklyn – an ethical issue on uploading silents to YouTube from DVDs – on quoting popular songs of the day in …
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This is a re-posting "flashback" of the very first episode of The Silent Film Music Podcast, originally posted on June 9, 2012. Welcome - score for "The Eagle" - new web series - Mabel Normand - Raymond Griffith at The Silent Clowns - score for "The Night Club" - playing for Ernie Kovacs - unidentified silents at Library of Congress - King Vidor's …
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In the second half of this 2-parter, Ben Model recaps the past pandemic year: producing and releasing the Edward Everett Horton DVD set, a handful of DVD release projects in development, remembering MoMA's Eileen Bowser, and looking toward the future of silent film live-streaming in 2022.Episode 43 Show Notes: Announcement: Episodes 1 through 8 of …
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"End of the Year 2021 Recap" – in the first half of this 2-parter, Ben Model recaps the past pandemic year of silent film live-streaming, rediscovering the meaning of providing entertainment for fans, the return to in-person accompaniments, and ponders the future of the silent movie virtual cinema.Episode 42 Show Notes: Live shows return in early s…
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"Live-Scoring for the Virtual Cinema" – in part two of this conversation, Ben Model discusses what it's been like to accompany silent films throughout 2021 via live-streams he's produced and presented out of his home. Ben and co-host Kerr Lockhart discuss: the differences for Ben between the creative mindsets of scoring a silent film while performi…
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"Live-Scoring for the Virtual Cinema" – in part one of this conversation, Ben Model discusses what it's been like to accompany silent films throughout 2021 via live-streams he's produced and presented out of his home. Ben and co-host Kerr Lockhart discuss: the differences for Ben between the creative mindsets of scoring a silent film while performi…
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"Adventures In Sound!" - Ben tracks his own journey to find the digital devices that best re-create or at least evoke the classic theater pipe organ experience under modern screening conditions.TopicsBen discusses the “temporary” theme for the podcast, “Those Keystone Comedy Cops”Ben’s instrumental evolution Learning to play the organLee Erwin, the…
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On this episode Ben talks about meeting an audience's expectations of a score when a certain piece of music or style is indicated onscreen, and in a rare case of a non-narrative film made after the silent era. Also covered are silent era mood cues and cue sheets, Marion Davies in "When Knighthood Was in Flower", techniques in performance to match m…
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On this episode Ben talks about: the annual Mostly Lost film identification workshop at the Library of Congress, currently postponed until 2021; underscoring a key scene in Keaton's "The Cameraman" and noticing a parallel with "Singin' In The Rain", playing for "Spite Marriage", the challenge of introducing and presenting "The General" at a college…
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On this episode Ben talks about: using music an audience may or may not expect to hear during a film in preparing scores for shows of Fairbanks' "Robin Hood" and Raoul Walsh's "Loves of Carmen"; using underscore to help smooth over missing footage; playing the theatre organ like it's an orchestra and sparingly using its "toy counter"; expanding his…
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On this episode, Ben Model talks with co-host Kerr Lockhart talk about a cancelled gig at the Metropolitan Museum of Art turning into an online one, Gage County Nebraska and Hollywood, accompanying Russian silent films, scoring a French film for an audience with live-translated intertitles. Plus: using leitmotifs, finding a lost reel of a Baby Pegg…
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On this episode of the podcast, Ben Model discusses the creation of the Silent Comedy Watch Party and the response so far; talks about teaching his silent film course at Wesleyan using Zoom; shares an excerpt from his score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Champagne for the Hitchcock British International Pictures Collection for Kino Lorber; talks about the …
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On this episode of the podcast -- I use a song-title-pun during Mostly Lost, play for the same Chaplin shorts three days in a row to work on an orchestral score, play a Möller in Rome like it's an orchestra, bring silent comedies to the Adirondacks, score two Marion Davies films in a recording session and at the Library of Congress, and make the su…
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On this episode of the podcast, I discuss meeting an audience's expectations while staying true to the film's original culture, choosing a comedy short to show newbies, and playing for a show where someone else's music credit is onscreen; also, Arthur Kleiner accompanies a Harold Lloyd short with an iPhone, 700 kids in Boise laugh at Buster Keaton,…
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On this episode, Ben Model talks about creating and performing a live score on theatre organ for the 1931 "Dracula" with Bela Lugosi, shares some insights about programming the "Silent Comedy International" series at MoMA, and discusses why playing at a suburban library is just as important as playing a big film festival. Performance recordings on …
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On this mini-episode, Ben Model gives you some tips and some do's & don't's on how to accompany a silent movie if you're doing one this Halloween...or any time of the year. Plus, there's news about Ben's upcoming silent film shows and DVD projects.Be sure you're on Ben's email list!Subscribe to the podcast via the platforms listed below, or on Over…
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On this episode, Ben Model recaps his summer silent film shows, discusses musically wrapping up a scene to match the film, talks about what to do musically when the film breaks, traces a 14-year trajectory in a "how'd you get that gig?" story, shares some info on Lee Erwin's synthesizer-based theatre organ and his novelty song "Tootsie Oodles", and…
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I've recorded and posted a new episode of The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model. It's the podcast that takes you inside the mind of someone as they prepare for, perform and reflect on performances of live musical accompaniments to silent movies.In episode 28 I discuss scoring a Laurel & Hardy silent comedy utilizing a tune many fans of their…
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On this episode, Ben Model takes you above the Arctic Circle to hear a pipe organ accompanying a Swedish silent, to Boise ID to its historic 1927 Egyptian Theatre, and to Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. Ben discusses choosing a main theme for his score "Show People", the importance of John Morris's music for Mel Brooks films, plus some…
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Welcome and intro - reports on recent shows and recordings, and October DVD releases - starting a score at a performance: playing the audience into the film - performance clip: "The Temptress" with Garbo & Moreno, on organ at the LoC - explanation of the podcast's theme - anticipating mood shifts and when to make the change - performance clip: "Met…
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Welcome and intro - "Silent Film Days" in Tromsø, Norway - demonstrating musical moods for 5th graders - the universality of silent comedy - recording of score for One Week for students - making underscoring fit physical actions in an unobtrusive way - performance recording ofexcerpt from score for L&H in From Soup To Nuts - waiting for just the ri…
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Welcome and intro - Stuart Oderman - DVD/Blu ray release of "When Knighthood Was In Flower" - holding back in playing in order to get audience inside a character's head - performance excerpt from "Show People" - underscoring a moment that extends into a scene with different energy - performance excerpt from "The Crowd" - Silent Film Days in Tromsø …
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Welcome and intro - "Silent Film Days" festival Tromsø (Verdensteatret 100 År!) - performance clip "Madame de Thebes" - scoring "Why Change Your Wife" and hunting for "Hindustan" for the Kansas Silent Film Festival - performance clip "Why Change Your Wife?" - more about scoring WFYW and about seeing William DeMille's films - show prep is more than …
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00:00 Welcome, and intro to Cruel and Unusual Comedy -- 04:02 More Plots and Plotters -- 11:21 Ethnic Profiling: Stereotypically Speaking -- 19:47 Loco Motives: On the Wrong Track -- 27:52 Scared Silent -- 36:27 Hits of the Past -- 45:29 Working Girls.This episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click he…
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00:00 Welcome, and intro to Cruel and Unusual Comedy -- 04:31 Westward Whoa -- 14:36 Love and War: Romantic Skirmishes -- 26:16 Family Jewels: Child Progeny -- 34:29 Wage Slaves and Working Stiffs -- 40:00 Slapstick HashThis episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click here to download or subscribe to p…
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00:00 welcome; intro to special "Cruel and Unusual Comedy" series and podcasts - 05:40 Plots and Plotters - 14:07 Chaplinitis - 26:15 Sports Injuries - 36:11 Arts Deprectiation. This episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podca…
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