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Saying It With Songs


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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments Introduction Chapter 1. Singing a Song: The Culture and Conventions of Popular Music in the 1920s Chapter 2. Owning a Song: The Restructuring of Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley Chapter 3. Plugging a Song: The Discrete Charm of the Popular Song, From Broadway to Hollywood Chapter 4. Integrating a Song: The Threat to Narrative Plausibility Chapter 5. Curtailing a Song: Toward the Classical Background Score Conclusion: The Fate of the Motion Picture Song Appendix 1: Confirmatory License Issued by Music Publishers Protective Association (1929) Appendix 2: "Tieups of Film and Music" as Reported by Variety Appendix 3: Timeline of Relationships Between Film and Music Companies Appendix 4: Agreement between Al Dubin, The Vitaphone Corp., and Music Publishers Holding Corporation Appendix 5: Summary of Agreement between Vitaphone Corporation, M. Witmark & Sons, and Ray Perkins Bibliography Credits Index

About the Author

Katherine Spring is Associate Professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University.


"Combining archival research with impressive scholarship, Spring offers a stimulating, provocative, and often paradigm-shifting study of how popular music shaped the very definition of cinema in its transformation from a silent to a sound medium. Lucid and lively, a must-read for anyone interested in the convergence of film and popular song in Hollywood." --Kathryn Kalinak, author of Settling the Score: Music and the Classical Hollywood and Film Music: A Very Short Introduction "Finally, a book that creatively covers popular song's contribution to the coming of sound. Katherine Spring's Saying It With Songs is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the connections between Hollywood and Tin Pan Alley." --Rick Altman, University of Iowa "An engaging and thought-provoking exploration of heretofore largely uncharted territory- that transition between the coming of synchronized sound and the emergence of classical Hollywood practice. Combining archival research into the corporate and legal maneuverings of the studios as they move to take over music publishing with nicely articulated readings of films from the late 1920s and early 1930s, Saying It With Songs maps out the boom-and-bust cycle of early musicals and the reaction against them before musical and narrative conventions 'settle' around 1933." --Robynn Stilwell, Georgetown University "Essential reading for historians of film and popular music. In it, the author combines impressive scholarship with conceptual clarity, making accessible to readers the complex changes that took place in the motion picture and music businesses resulting from the coming of sound." --The Historical Journal of Film, Radio and Television "While the reader learns a lot about movie theory and song arrangement, it is still a very light and easy style we encounter on these pages; this comes as a great plus." "If sound came quickly to Hollywood, its arrival inspired a burst of experimental creativity. Dwelling longer on this brief moment of heterogeneity might help us to recapture some of the novel wonder of early sound film, which Spring's colourful and thought-provoking account opens up as a fascinating new area of research."--Music, Sound, and the Moving Image "[A] groundbreaking study...Carefully crafted and meticulously researched, Spring asks us to reconsider the importance of this period that functions as a nexus from the silent film era to the introduction of the classical background score. As such, it will be of interest to scholars of film and culture, musicologists, and film aficionados alike."--Film Matters "Spring's emphasis on songs during the conversion period matters not just because it helps us better grasp corporate relationships and cinematic storytelling, but also because it complicates the generally accepted reading of classical Hollywood's romantic score. Indeed, Spring claims that conversion-era film offers early examples of both the popular song score and orchestral score that would become typical much later. Her careful retelling of this period's history is therefore important for anyone who wants to understand Hollywood film music in any era." -- Journal of the Society for American Music

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