Organising a Music Library for Playing to Pictures: Theory vs. Practice in Britain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter examines the management of large collections of music held by cinemas and individual musical directors during the teens and twenties. I outline the advice provided in articles that appeared in British film and music trade papers, and provide a context for these discussions by drawing attention to industry pressures to acquire ever more music and the average eventual size of cinema libraries. Indexing systems for organizing such collections fell into two broad types: those based on genre, and those based more closely on mood. Advice tended to lack full detail at the second, more analytical, level of the proposed indexing systems. The potential chaos that might ensue as a result of this and other factors emerges from an examination of a surviving library collection from the Theatre Royal Picture House in Bradford, North Yorkshire.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Sounds of Silent Films
Subtitle of host publicationNew Perspectives on History, Theory and Practice
EditorsClaus Tieber, Anna Windisch
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
ISBN (Print)9781137410719
Publication statusPublished - 27 Aug 2014

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