Music in the Early Sound Film
Music in the Early Sound Film
The film Don Juan was the first to use vitaphone, or sound on disk. However, the movie producers used pre-recorded sound. It was a deviation from the past since the other movies during the silent era used live music. Don Juan movie did not include any talking dialogue between the characters. People consider Jazz Singer to be the first sound movie although there were other productions that incorporated sound prior to the release of the movie. This is because it was the first movie in which the characters were involved in spoken dialogue. The main character and his mother held a conversation as one would do in reality. The audience had not experienced any form of synchronized dialogue in the movies before this time. The movie also had vocal music and accompaniment.
The spoken dialogue was only a small section in the movie Jazz Singer. However, since it was the first movie to introduce people talking, many people see it as the first sound movie. A large section of the movie has music and musical accompaniment. The lead actor is a jazz performer who spends a considerable amount of time singing. However, the movie was the beginning of something new in the movie industry. It gave those who were involved in the production of sound a chance to improve their technologies in terms of improving and perfecting them in the movies. The technologies worked and the movie producers found a way of having films where the characters talked for the entire period.
The movie Jazz Singer used the blackface, which was a continuation from the minstrel shows that were the norm in the nineteenth century. Popular white entertainers would wear black masks on their faces. Although the main character in the movie does wear a blackface, he does so as a way of expressing his freedom in that state, and as a way of showing the type of art, he was involved in at the time. When he wore a blackface, he felt free to perform to the audience. Moreover, it was a way for him to identify with the jazz music, which had emerged as music for the African Americans at the time. Although the white audience accepted the white performers in blackface, they did not show the same kind of reception to black performers. There was a lot of discrimination in the industry. The civil rights movement was instrumental in changing people’s perception concerning race. In addition, many more black performers became involved in the industry. Gradually, the film industry began reflecting the changes in the society. Black people were given roles that were more significant to play in films.
The advent of sound pictures may have revolutionized the industry, but it did have some negative consequences as well. Many of the people who had performed live music as individuals or as part of orchestras lost their jobs. The audience could not offer the same kind of response that they had during the silent films. When there was no sound on films, the audience could talk and react to the characters as they played. Hence, the producers and the characters were able to gauge the feedback from the audience based on how they responded. However, with the coming of the sound movies, the viewers found that they had to be quiet so that they could concentrate on the show. In addition, many people could follow the story in silent films despite language differences. Language barrier was not a problem since they did not have to depend on the spoken word. Over time, things have changed. Movies have incorporated sub titles and this has solved the problem of language barrier in talking movies.
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