Musical Modernism and German Cinema from 1913 to 1933

9783319582610The English-language monograph Musical Modernism and German Cinema from 1913 to 1933 has been published in the book series “Film and Television Studies” by Palgrave Macmillan, UK.

“Finocchiaro’s study delivers compelling insights into the relationship between Musical Modernism and German silent and early sound cinema. Approaching cinema from the vantage point of its engagement with modernist composers manages to move beyond the boundaries between “high” and “low” art, opening up the wider field of the cultural status of cinema in relation to coexisting art forms at a crucial historical moment.” (Anna K. Windisch, University of Salzburg, Austria. Co-Editor of The Sounds of Silent Films. New Perspectives on History, Theory and Practice, 2014)

Francesco Finocchiaro, Musical Modernism and German Cinema from 1913 to 1933, Basingstoke, Palgrave Macmillan, 2017.

International Music Theory Conference 2017


“During the silent era, as known, the accompaniment music for film projections was in an extremely precarious state. Nevertheless, film theory assigned to music an essential role, often describing the ‘tenth Muse’ as a daughter of the more ancient and noble ‘art of sounds.’ The idea of an ‘elective affinity’ between music and cinema found a theoretical systematization within the writings by Georg Otto Stindt (1924), Béla Balázs (1924), and Hans Erdmann (1927), who identified the rhythmic dimension as the trait d’union between these two forms of art.”

Francesco Finocchiaro, “Im Anfang war der Rhythmus”. Aesthetic Abstractions in the Film Music Composition of the 1920s, 17th International Music Theory Conference, Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, Vilnius, November 8–10, 2017.

Transnational Opera Studies Conference 2017

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The FMJ research project has been represented at the recent Transnational Opera Studies Conference in Bern, on July 5-7, 2017.
Dr. Francesco Finocchiaro reported on ‘Cinema and Musical Theatre in the Weimar Republic’, elaborating on Kurt Weill’s Royal Palace and Alban Berg’s Lulu as two paradigmatic instances of medial combination.
The paper focused on dramaturgical and aesthetical issues related to the cross-pollination between old and new medial languages in the Weimar era theatre.

F. Finocchiaro, Cinema and Musical Theatre in the Weimar Republic: Two Case Studies, 2nd Transnational Opera Studies Conference, Bern, July 5-7, 2017

When Jazz Meets Cinema

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

At the recent conference When Jazz Meets Cinema (Lovere, May 5-7, 2017), Francesco Finocchiaro and Leo Izzo held a lecture on jazz numbers in Gottfried Huppertz’s score for Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang. The paper gave rise to a lively discussion that addressed many issues concerning the reception of the jazz music in Europe between the two world wars.

Francesco Finocchiaro & Leo Izzo, Metropolis’ di Fritz Lang: la città del futuro nell’età del jazz, International Conference “When Jazz Meets Cinema”, May 5-7, 2017, Lovere (BG)

Metropolis in the Jazz Era

Metropolis-new-tower-of-babelAt the forthcoming International Conference When Jazz Meets Cinema, May 5-7, Lovere (BG), Project Leader Francesco Finocchiaro, together with jazz scholar Leo Izzo, will give a lecture on Gottfried Huppertz’s original score for Metropolis (1927) by Fritz Lang.
In their four-hand paper, Finocchiaro and Izzo will deal with two remarkable film scenes accompanied by jazz music. The analysis will focus on the symbolical meaning associated with jazzy sound and language in the music accompaniment for silent movies.

Organic-mechanical metaphors in the musical discussion between the two World Wars

896The discussion on music’s mechanization exploded in German print journalism between the two World Wars, when a series of technological innovations (radio, phonograph, cinematograph and sound cinema) caught the attention of the public and swept through the music world, shaking its very foundations.

In this sharply polemical debate, the metaphorical antithesis “organism-mechanism” reflected the contraposition between different thought systems and structured a generational opposition.

In other words, “organic music” was the music of the Nineteenth Century and that of the followers of the Classical-Romantic tradition; by contrast, “mechanical music” was the music of radiophonic, electro-acoustic and cinematic experiments, carried out by the new generation of composers at the Baden-Baden Festival.

In the framework of this ideological debate, the organic-mechanical metaphors constitute the point of connection between compositional structures, music analytical categories, and exegetical processes. Metaphors represent the hinge, the element of mediation between the categorization of the compositional structures and the hermeneutic processes that forge the aesthetic discourse. They mediate between the territories of poetics and aesthetics, where the verbal discourse has the central role, and the immanent structures.

Francesco Finocchiaro, “Musica organica versus musica meccanica”. Un’antitesi metaforica nel dibattito musicale fra le due guerre, in Musica e metafora: storia analisi ermeneutica, edited by F. Finocchiaro and M. Giani, Torino, Accademia University Press, 2016, pp. 117-154 (Biblioteca di Athena Musica, 1).

Project Presentation

Jour FixeThe research project on Film Music as a Problem in German Print Journalism will be presented at the University of Vienna, on 23 March 2017.

Project leader Dr. Francesco Finocchiaro and Project assistant Henriette Engelke will introduce the main issues of the ongoing project.

The lecture will be held at the Department of Musicology, from 3.30 pm to 5 pm.