The Sounds of the Silents in Britain

Julie Brown (Editor), Annette Davison (Editor)

Research output: Book/ReportBook


This book explores the sonic dimension of film exhibition in Britain, from the emergence of cinema through to the introduction of synchronized sound. With contributions from many of the acknowledged experts on British silent film, as well as specialists on film music, the essays provide an introduction to diverse aspect of early film sound: vocal performance (from lecturing and reciting to voicing the drama), music (from the forerunners of music for visual spectacle, to the impact of legislation and the development of an aesthetic), and performance in cinemas (from dancing and singalong films to live stage prologues, and even musical performances captured in British Pathé’s early sound shorts). Other topics include the sonic eclecticism of performances at the Film Society, British International Pictures’ first synchronized sound films, and the role of institutions such as the Musicians’ Union and the Performing Right Society in relation to cinema music and musicians.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherOxford University Press
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • early film
  • silent cinema
  • silent films
  • film music
  • musical accompaniment
  • lecturing
  • speaking to films
  • synchronized sound
  • legislation
  • Britain
  • performance

Cite this