Trivia

Hard

Film Scores Were Originally Introduced To?

Meet NYC Musician Union Demands
Expose Patrons New Music
Mask Loud Projector Sounds
Employ Out-of-Season Orchestras

Answer: Mask Loud Projector Sounds

Although some early movie theaters experimented with having an in-house pianist or, in large cities and on special occasions, even an orchestra proper, the majority of early movie theaters did not have sound systems or live music.

We’d love to tell you that there was an elegant reason for the introduction of musical scores to early silent films, but the reason has little to do with the edification of film-going audiences and everything to do with dealing with the physical limitations of early movie theater design.

The primary motivation for the introduction of movie theater sound systems was an entirely practical one. Early projectors were incredibly loud and on account of little to no acoustic-dampening between the projection booth and the theater proper, the patrons could clearly hear the racket the projector created. Film scores not only enhanced the general viewing experience and created something more akin to live theater, but also served the very necessary purpose of masking the projector so that the audience wasn’t continually distracted by the noise.

While we’re on the subject of film score trivia, it’s worth noting that the biggest landmark in early film score use was 1933’s King Kong, wherein the film score was so well synced up to the film that the footsteps of characters aligned with individual notes of the film score.

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