Thursday, September 28, 2017

Sheet Music from the Movies

This week's post on my Ann Blyth: Actress. Singer. Star. blog features a contribution from an Ann Blyth fan -- scans of sheet music from her 1952 film The World in His Arms (which we had discussed in this earlier post) illustrating that the beautiful love theme I thought had no words actually was published with lyrics.  Today we have a look at a few other examples of sheet music from classic films.

Hollywood was extremely resourceful in its juggernaut promotion of films, and sheet music played a role in publicizing a film by exploiting the popularity of songs from a movie, or by trying to make those songs popular to increase interest in the movie.  The sheet music usually pictured stars on the cover, and that was an added feature desired by fans who collected photos of their favorites. 

While these earlier decades of the twentieth century could boast a larger percentage of the population who owned pianos or otherwise played musical instruments, I suspect many collectors of these items kept them mainly for their walls and their scrapbooks.  

Sheet music of movie themes continue to be published for modern films, but perhaps used today more in the form of a high school band playing the theme from Star Wars (1979).  I don't imagine sheet music from modern films is as popular today among fans who are not musicians.

Do you have any sheet music in your classic film memorabilia collection?


Caftan Woman said...

Would it surprise you that my meager, yet loved collection of movie sheet music features a lot of Bing Crosby?

I recently saw Ruby Gentry for the first time, but thanks to the sheet music used to play the theme on my handy, dandy melodica back in my teen years. (I was not cool back then. Not like nowadays!)

Sue Bursztynski said...

Yes, I do have a few in the piano stool. There's the love theme from Romeo And Juliet, by Nino Rota - and that one already had lyrics in the film - and the theme from Exodus by Ernest Gold, which wasn't sung in the film, but I'm pretty sure middle of the road singers did sing the lyrics posted with the sheet music.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

CW, I cannot believe there was a time you were not cool. And no, I'm not surprised at your stash of Bing Crosby sheet music.

Sue, I love that sheet music is a part of our movie memorabilia collections, because the music is so much of what connects us to a movie. There may even be some folks who will recognize the themes from both Exodus and Romeo & Juliet as pop hits, but not recall those films. The music has transcended them.

Elisabeth Grace Foley said...

I have that exact copy of "As Time Goes By" pictured in your post. I've always wanted to find an arrangement that sounded exactly the way Sam played it in the movie, and I hoped the original would be it—but it's not, exactly. And I have an English copy of "Waltzing in the Clouds" from the Deanna Durbin movie Spring Parade—one interesting thing about it is that it's a slightly different size from all vintage American sheet music I've seen!

I also have half a dozen Sons of the Pioneers song folios, which aren't precisely movie tie-ins, but nearly all the songs in them were performed in their movies and there's a bunch of film stills inside the front covers of most of them.

Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Hi Elisabeth - what a neat collection you have. Interesting that the "As Time Goes By" arrangement differs a bit from the movie. The Sons of the Pioneers material sounds fun, especially with photos. I have a book of 1912 & 1913 song hits that are reproductions of the original sheet music which I suppose I could discuss sometime - certainly some of these tunes were used in nostalgia type movies, like EASTER PARADE. I like how these items convey the themes and moods of their eras in such an expressive way.

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