Ep. 63: Scoring Decisions and Transitions
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
1M ago
In this episode: Ben recaps his month’s activities in March 2024, talks about the subtleties of underscoring dramatic moments when a main character thinks through an important decision, a creative way to invent main themes for a program of 7 animated shorts, accompanying a 1914 “Italian Diva” melodrama, and picking up on something about the film from its spoken introduction that affected the score created during the show; plus live-performance excerpts from scores for “Shoes” (1916) by Lois Weber at NYU, a restored Koko the Clowns cartoon at MoMA, and “Sangue Bleu” (1914) at Casa Italiana Zeri ..read more
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Ep. 61: Improvising Themes for Re-Use and Development
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
6M ago
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 the different pianos at MoMA, and how the feel of playing these pianos – and the many others Ben encounters in his work – affect his playing and live-scoring; Ben’s New Year’s resolution for his silent film accompaniments (with a nod to Akira Kuros ..read more
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Ep. 60: Music on the Road: Late Summer – Autumn 2023
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
7M ago
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 musical instrument; audience laughs during the climax of Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last”; accompanying a film where only way to preview was by reading trade reviews; live recording excerpts from “Loves of Casanova” at MoMA, “Safety Last” in Schroon Lak ..read more
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Ep. 59: San Francisco Silent Film Fest, Undercrank’s 10th Anniversary, Tom Mix, and More
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
10M ago
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 tips and insights on having music light on the piano at different venues, some thoughts about scoring a few different scenes from Harold Lloyd’s “Safety Last”; and…don’t click away during the wrap-up, or you’ll miss a nice surprise at the end of the epi ..read more
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Ep. 58: “Potato Salad”, TCM Classic Film Festival, Ernie Kovacs, Undercrank Prods 10th Anniversary
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 upcoming Ernie Kovacs book “Ernie in Kovacsland”, and Kerr takes a real deep dive into the history and recordings of “Die Moritat”, known to Kovacs fans as the music heard during the comedian’s “oscilloscope” gag sequences; Ben talks about the 10th a ..read more
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Ep. 57: Recording silent film scores for Tom Mix and Rin Tin Tin
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 register certain kinds of transitions or to grasp subtleties in the mood or intent of certain kinds of scenes. Recording examples includes segments from Tom Mix in “The Best Bad Man”, recently restored by the Museum of Modern Art,; Tom Mix in “Sky High ..read more
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Ep. 56: Back to scoring silent feature films
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 of music in Kovacs’ commercials for Dutch Masters cigars; Ben talks about a scoring films with extensive WWI battle sequences, how these utilize a 1910s form of silent film’s visual language and how this can affect scoring these scenes; plus news abo ..read more
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Ep. 55: Music for unconventional silent films and other purposes
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 to score these and others for the Met’s online “From the Vaults” series; also covered are the live-scoring of polar exploration silent films shown at the Stumfilmdager (Silent Film Days) festival in Tromsø, Norway, and the accompanying of college gr ..read more
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Ep. 54: playing different theatre or pipe organs at shows in Oct & Nov 2022
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 show; Ben talks about the sixth sense silent film accompanists develop and use to sense an audience’s engagement with a silent film during a screening; plus some thoughts on Lois Weber’s direction of “Shoes” (1916), meeting a Silent Comedy Watch Part ..read more
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Ep. 53: underscoring “Frankenstein” (1931), leitmotifs and how often to use them, listener questions, and more.
The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
by Ben Model
11M ago
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 Library of Congress, incl. multiple examples recorded during the show; shares a few minutes of his pipe organ accompaniment for Harold Lloyd’s “The Freshman” at South Dakota State University; answers listener questions, and more. Show notes for episod ..read more
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