Silent film sound: history, theory and practice, February 22–23, 2013

full name / name of organization: 
Christian Albrechts University Kiel, Germany in collaboration with Kiel Society for Film Music Research

We are pleased to invite proposals for papers in the broad theme "Silent film sound: history, theory and practice", to be presented at a conference of the same name on February 22 - 23 at the Christian Albrechts University Kiel.

With a few exceptions silent cinema was never silent. Cinemas and other spaces of film exhibition were in fact rather loud places where music, voices and sounds intermingled during the screening. Today public interest in silent cinema is on the rise. Film screenings with live accompaniment have gained popularity in recent years, silent films are shown in concert halls and at festivals and they are (again) staged as events and not simply as presentation of a piece of entertainment or art.
Music and sound for silent film are relatively young fields of study and most research focuses on the American tradition. With this conference we seek to expand the field for other – especially European – regions, and compare them with well documented American cases.

We aim to gather scholars from various disciplines, to discuss and reflect on current and historical approaches to the study of sound and music and moving images. We particularly encourage both musicologists and film scholars to participate in the debate surrounding this topic, in order to benefit from each other's perspectives and to challenge prevailing views and methodologies in this thriving field.
Ultimately, we aim to strengthen the European and international research network concerned with the variety of sound and musical practices in silent film accompaniment. We also want to discuss contemporary practices of silent film accompaniment and explicitly invite musical practitioners to share and discuss their experiences with us.

Papers may address repertories or issues relating to one of the following areas (or others related to the conference theme):

Film narrator/lecturer
Sound effects in silent film exhibition
Relationship of cinema with antecedent theatrical forms like Vaudeville and Variety
Relationship with theater music, opera and musical theater in general
Early film and the music recording and publishing industry
Singers in cinema
National and regional idiosyncrasies of silent film sound
Gender aspects in production, performance and reception
National Identity in musical forms (community singing)
Diegetic Music in Silent Cinema
Silent film and popular music/jazz: improvised or compiled (structural and formal issues)
Mechanical Music
Opera films, music films
Early transmedial star systems
Historical discourse about music in cinemas
Issues of research, teaching and knowledge transfer
Contemporary practices of silent film accompaniment
Experimental silent film and its accompaniment

Proposals (max. 350 words) for 25-minute presentations should be sent to Claus Tieber (, no later than October 15, 2012. Please include a short biography, all current contact information (name, e-mail, phone number, affiliation) and specific AV requirements.

We plan to publish a book based on the refereed proceedings.