The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model-logo

The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model

Arts & Culture Podcasts

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.

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.

Location:

New York, NY

Description:

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.

Language:

English

Contact:

212-595-5955


Episodes

ep. 39: “Adventures in Sound!”

1/10/2021
"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. Topics Ben discusses the “temporary” theme for the podcast, “Those Keystone Comedy Cops” Ben’s instrumental evolution Learning to play the organLee Erwin, theater organist, as a mentorDifference in technique between piano and organExpanding colors and instrumentationDeveloping the Synth-Org (Sample...

Duration:01:02:50

ep. 38: scoring for scenes that suggest or specify a piece of music, and scoring a film from 1948

7/10/2020
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 music to action, this episode's FAQ, and more. Live performance clips include Valentino's tango dance in "Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse",...

Duration:01:00:46

ep. 37: Mostly Lost, Keaton’s The Cameraman and The General, an electric organ and Laurel & Hardy

6/24/2020
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 show; playing for Laurel & Hardy on a 1980s electric theatre organ, and using that console's MIDI function to bring the sound of the Wurlitzer to...

Duration:00:59:42

ep. 36: scoring Robin Hood and a 1927 Carmen, using the orchestral and cartoony sounds of a theatre organ, more live-streaming

6/10/2020
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 live-streamed silent film shows beyond his weekly "Silent Comedy Watch Party", and more. episode 36: "Famous Players and Famous Melodies" Silent...

Duration:00:59:07

ep. 35: Pottery at the Met, Behind the Door in Nebraska, Eisenstein in Bklyn, Clair on Long Island, plus FAQ

5/27/2020
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 Peggy comedy, piano tuning and this week's silent film book recommendation. You'll hear excerpts from Ben's last show before the pandemic shutdown, a...

Duration:00:53:27

ep. 34: the Silent Comedy Watch Party, scoring Hitchcock, “Intrigue” and Nell Shipman, plus FAQ

5/12/2020
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 annual show at the Idaho State Museum and his collaboration with the Boise Philharmonic, and shares an excerpt from his score for the Nell Shipman...

Duration:00:48:54

ep. 33: two takes on The Rink, organ as orchestra for a horse, melodies underscore Marion Davies

9/4/2019
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 sun rise a little faster in Pennsylvania. Plus news about Douglas MacLean, upcoming shows and more. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts,...

Duration:00:52:12

ep. 32: meeting audience expectations, tips on choosing a comedy short, and a trip to Nebraska

5/27/2019
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, I play a MoMA premiere of a newly-discovered film from 1898; plus – news about recent and upcoming shows. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple...

Duration:00:44:38

ep. 31: Scoring Dracula, Playing for Pat & Patachon, Reaching Younger Fans

12/19/2018
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 this episode are from "Dracula" at the Library of Congress, "Vester Vov Vov" with Danish comedy duo Pat & Patachon ("Fy og Bi"), and Harold Lloyd...

ep. 30: How To Play the Piano or Organ for a Halloween Silent Movie

10/8/2018
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 – and if you want to say "thanks!", buy him a cup of coffee here at Ko-Fi.comSubscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify and Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at...

ep. 29: playing for scene breaks & film breaks, Lee Erwin’s Tootsie Oodles, how’d you get that gig? and more

9/10/2018
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 more. All this plus news about upcoming silent film shows and DVD info. Here are links to Kino Lorber's new release of Pioneers: First Women...

ep. 28: scoring Laurel & Hardy, Mostly Lost 7, Lois Weber on organ and more

7/16/2018
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 theirs know, recording a new score for Lois Weber's Hypocrites for the new Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers box set for KinoLorber currently screening...

Duration:01:01:35

ep. 27: organ sounds from Norway and Idaho, a trip to Hollywood, and using main themes

5/23/2018
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 insight on the use and usefulness of a silent film score's main theme. All this plus news about Mostly Lost, upcoming silent film shows and DVD...

ep. 26: reinterpreting 1929 Buster Keaton, playing into a film, anticipating mood transitions

10/12/2017
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: "Metropolis" in Brooklyn - finding a way to make the most of "Spite Marriage" with Buster Keaton - score clip: original 1929 score recording -...

ep. 25: performances in Tromsø, mood demos, universality of laughs, fitting hits to music (or not), “Diane” in reel 5

9/22/2017
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 right moment for the first instance of a love theme - excerpt from performance of Borzage's Seventh Heaven - upcoming DVD release and project info -...

ep 24: Stuart Oderman, playing the numbers in Detroit, Show People, The Crowd, DVD news

8/18/2017
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 again next month - score recording of Lee Erwin accompanying "The Thief of Bagdad" - upcoming DVD release and project info - signoff and thank...

ep. 23: Tromsø, Kansas and Toronto Silent Film Festivals, Hindustan, W.C. Fields, being a 360 creator, Knighthood news

4/20/2017
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 just musician prep - performance clip "It's The Old Army Game" - being in an oil painting and on a book cover - premiere of my restoration of...

ep 22: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #3

1/7/2017
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 here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support...

ep 21: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #2

1/7/2017
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 podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element

ep 20: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #1

1/7/2017
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 podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element