25 July 2023
Funding from the German Research Foundation€750,000 for Research on Silent Film Music
For the project, scores and films in libraries and film archives in Germany, Italy, France, and the United States will be subject to intense scrutiny as of April 2024. The goal is primarily to focus on music that was new and composed specifically for the films in question in a bid to increase the films’ prestige.
The researchers working with Huck at the Institute of Historical Musicology presume that the music will have its own, and partly complementary narrative strategies. Their studies should yield fundamental understanding of musical aesthetics and the music conditions for silent film.
“Film music is one of the most powerful music genres of the twentieth century. Because silent films have music throughout the entire film that isn’t interrupted by dialog, the structural unity of image and music more closely resembles opera, ballet, or symphonic density than it does the theater,” says Oliver Huck. Music in the classical and Romantic tradition thus reached, Huck continues, a larger and to some extent new circle of listeners. The researchers assume that the conventions of musical dramaturgy and audiovisual perception in film music had already been established prior to movies with sound and that they still influence today’s music.
The German Research Foundation’s Reinhard Koselleck projects support researchers with outstanding academic records and should give them opportunities to pursue projects that are highly innovative and, in a positive sense, take a risk. The funding period is 5 years.