The Continuity of Melos
Beginnings to the Present Day
Keywords:pantomime, melodrama, silent film, sound film
The “hurry” is one type of melo found in music for pantomime of the eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century in melodrama, after which it was adopted for silent film accompaniment, and then in scoring sound films. The use of “hurries” shows the persistence of this type of melo for action scenes, or to convey a hurried state of mind, in four different theatrical genres, and can still be found in contemporary film scores, if no longer identified by that name. An examination of Thomas Holcroft’s A Tale of Mystery (1802, music by Thomas Busby), an 1880s’ theatrical adaptation of Alexandre Dumas’s Le comte de Monte Cristo (The Count of Monte Cristo), and excerpts from J.S. Zamecnik’s Sam Fox Moving Picture Music (1913) illustrate the continuity of hurry use across two centuries of theatrical melos practice.
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———, ed. 1994. Nineteenth-century American musical theatre, vol. 4: Later melodrama in America: Monte Cristo (c. 1883). New York.
Waeber, Jacqueline. 2011. The voice-over as “melodramatic voice.” In Melodramatic voices: Understanding music drama, ed. Sarah Hibberd, 218 (Farnham: Ashgate).
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