Chaplin Film Scores

Not So Silent Cinema and NRE are excited to be rolling out new scores Brendan has written for some classic short films that Charlie Chaplin made for Mutual Film Company in 1916 and 1917. The Mutual comedies display Chaplin at an exciting point in the development of his style.

Brendan has sought to capture the devilish narcissism of Chaplin’s character through a series of musical ‘jokes’. As Chaplin’s gags often involve Chaplin entering a scene of civility and leaving it in mayhem, Brendan has chosen to present a selection of recognizable melodies and pieces that he will gradually deconstruct in a manic and devious fashion. For instance, here in the trailer Chopin’s “Minute Waltz” is transformed into a full-tilt boogie.

This approach also references the common performance practice of silent-film accompanists during Chaplin’s time. It was quite common for pianists or organists to flip through books of common classical and popular pieces while accompanying a film. Many books were published for just this purpose with pieces organized by themes (romance music, chase music, fight themes, etc.). Brendan’s scores may sound like a silent-film accompanist who has slowly come undone, or perhaps gotten a bit tipsy.