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The Sounds of Early Cinema is devoted exclusively to a little-known, yet absolutely crucial phenomenon: the ubiquitous presence of sound in early cinema. "Silent cinema" may rarely have been silent, but the sheer diversity of sound(s) and sound/image relations characterizing the first 20 years of moving picture exhibition can still astonish us. Whether instrumental, vocal, or mechanical, sound ranged from the improvised to the pre-arranged (as in scripts, scores, and cue sheets). The practice of mixing sounds with images differed widely, depending on the venue (the nickelodeon in Chicago versus the summer Chautauqua in rural Iowa, the music hall in London or Paris versus the newest palace cinema in New York City) as well as on the historical moment (a single venue might change radically, and many times, from 1906 to 1910).
Contributors include Richard Abel, Rick Altman, Edouard Arnoldy, Mats Björkin, Stephen Bottomore, Marta Braun, Jean Châteauvert, Ian Christie, Richard Crangle, Helen Day-Mayer, John Fullerton, Jane Gaines, André Gaudreault, Tom Gunning, François Jost, Charlie Keil, Jeff Klenotic, Germain Lacasse, Neil Lerner, Patrick Loughney, David Mayer, Domi-nique Nasta, Bernard Perron, Jacques Polet, Lauren Rabinovitz, Isabelle Raynauld, Herbert Reynolds, Gregory A. Waller, and Rashit M. Yangirov.
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Richard Abel is Ellis and Nell Levitt Professor of English at Drake University, where he teaches cinema/media/cultural studies. His most recent book is The Red Rooster Scare: Making Cinema American, 1900-1910 (California, 1999), which was a finalist for the Kraszna-Krausz Moving Image Book Award. Currently he is editing the Routledge Encyclopedia of Early Cinema.
Rick Altman is Professor of Cinema and Comparative Literature at the University of Iowa. After publishing Film/Genre (British Film Institute, 1999), which won the SCS Katherine Singer Kovacs award, he edited a special issue of IRIS 27 (Spring 1999) on the "State of Sound Studies." His current projects include a book on the silent cinema soundscape, a DVD devoted to illustrated song slides, and performances by his troupe, The Living Nickelodeon.Language Notes:
Text: English, French
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