William E. Chaplin, Classical Forum: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven. Analyzing Classical Form: An Approach for the Classroom, William E. From Chaplin’s brilliant use of Wagner in The Gold Rush to the Bach chorale closing. Read “William E. Chaplin, Classical Forum: A Theory of Formal Functions for the Instrumental Music of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven, Music.

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But perhaps of no other one man can it be said that he wrote, directed, acted, and scored a motion picture.

Chaplin as a Composer

Tramp finds flowers in gutter… Music: Saxophone bleating, in slightly off synchronization with the lips, mimics the speakers at the unveiling of the moment. Tramp comes to corner where Girl used to sell flowers Music: Actually, from frm, every town of five thousand or over cbaplin at least a three-piece orchestra — or an organ.

It is true that one or chaplij of the minor numbers are reminiscent. Chaplin rehearsing with the Abe Lyman Orchestra. A dramatic theme introduces him and is followed by an over-dramatic agitato as he ties the suicide noose. The Tramp and the Millionaire, City Lights, At least twenty numbers in the score could be published as separate and original works.


He turns to the girl in the window of her shop laughing at him… Music: Chaplin playing the organ. W Griffith also composed some musical themes for his pictures.

Charlie Chaplin : Chaplin as a Composer

Tramp wanders the streets… Music: In similar fashion D. Chaplin plays the violin in The Vagabond, Violin Caprice secondary girl theme. The ending of City Lights, The famous apache dance is a paraphrase.

When Chaplin was signed by the Essanay Company, he bought a violin on which he scraped for hours at night, to the annoyance of less wakeful actors when they all lived next to the studio at Niles, California. The tramp, let out of prison, searches for the blind girl. In certain moods he is known to have fingered this expensive instrument for hours at a time.

A rumba-like number accompanies the party scene where the tramp swallows the whistle.

She had two subsidiary themes, one a pathetique for scenes in her slum room, and the other a violin caprice, for her wistful chhaplin. But who, better than Chaplin, could point up musically the tragic-comic adventures of the tramp character he himself created?

Realizing the importance of musical accompaniment to the silent film, Chaplin sought to have it reproduced in every theatre exactly as he wished it. But the melodies, with the exceptions noted above, used for the associations they would evoke, were composed by Chaplin. The theme is repeated seven times when he is in hopeful moods. Girl touches hand of tramp… Music: It is heard again as a sort of fate theme at moments of crises, such as the count over Charlie in the classixal ring, and his capture and imprisonment.


Tramp Theme played slowly and tragically. Incidentally, Chaplin even conducted the orchestra, himself, during recordings, an added reason for the satisfying impression of wholeness in the Chaplin films.

Nor does Chaplin possess the virtuosity and present grandiose manner of Steiner, where too often sheer bombast attempts to make up for the emotional vacuity in the picture itself.

The style is marked and individual. As was customary in the scoring for silent pictures, the Wagnerian leitmotiv system was followed — a distinctive musical theme associated with which character and idea. This shrill squeaking is used not only as a comic note itself, but as a burlesque of the talkies.

Played also behind the tragic of the picture, with its grim and fateful chords, the second has a distinct Puccini flavor.