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date: 24 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the sound-making practice that accompanied the public performance of silent film in Japan from a historical perspective. In early years, brass band, a sonic symbol for Western civilization, played in theaters uninterruptedly (“ballyhoo”) in order to call attention to the passersby as well as to arouse the mood in the exhibition space. With the development of the art of benshi, synchronized sound making was regarded as an efficient and artful device to aid the perception of the audience. Later, in the 1910s, the sound practice became gradually fixed with the formalization and industrialization of spectacle.

Keywords: Silent film, film music, spectatorship, Rick Altman, ballyhoo, brass band, orchestra, kabuki, benshi

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