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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Chaplin playing the organ. Chaplin plays the violin in The Vagabond, 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.

Charlie Chaplin : Chaplin as a Composer

Tramp Theme played slowly and tragically. 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. 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 boxing ring, and his capture and imprisonment.

Tramp comes to corner where Girl used to sell flowers Music: Violin Caprice secondary girl theme. Tramp wanders the streets… Music: In certain moods he is known to have fingered this expensive instrument for hours chaplni a time.

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A dramatic theme introduces him and is followed by an over-dramatic agitato as he ties the suicide noose. The famous apache dance is a paraphrase. The theme is repeated seven times when he is in hopeful moods. But who, better than Chaplin, could point up musically the tragic-comic adventures of the tramp character he himself created?

A fanfare on trumpets, over a night scene, opens the picture proper. 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. But the melodies, with the exceptions noted above, used for the associations they would evoke, were composed by Chaplin. Saxophone bleating, in slightly off synchronization with the lips, mimics the speakers at the unveiling of the moment.

W Griffith also composed chaplkn musical themes for his pictures.

Chaplin as a Composer

The Tramp and the Millionaire, City Lights, She had two subsidiary themes, one a pathetique for scenes in her slum room, and the vhaplin a violin caprice, for her wistful moments. At least twenty numbers in the score could be published as separate and original works. Chaplin rehearsing with the Abe Lyman Orchestra. Tramp finds flowers in gutter… Music: Actually, from on, every town of five thousand or over had at least a three-piece orchestra — or an organ.


The ending of City Lights, Played also behind the tragic of the picture, with its grim and fateful chords, the second has a distinct Puccini flavor. This shrill squeaking is used not only as a classical note itself, but as a burlesque of the talkies. Incidentally, Chaplin even conducted the orchestra, himself, during recordings, an added reason for the satisfying impression of wholeness in the Chaplin films. It is true that one or two of the minor numbers are reminiscent.

After Chaplin made his first million, he installed a pipe organ in his Beverly Hills mansion. Realizing the importance of musical accompaniment to the silent film, Chaplin sought to have it reproduced in every theatre classjcal as he wished it. In similar fashion D. But perhaps of no other one man can it be said that he wrote, directed, acted, and scored a motion picture.