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"A Night in the Show" - solo piano film score (2019)

"A Night in the Show" - Charlie Chaplin [1915]

Listen to the piece

  • Instrumentation: Piano.

  • Description: Although I have composed for home movies in the past in the sense of writing orchestral tracks to be edited into the film, this was my first attempt at truly writing a film soundtrack. In the ‘20s, the music would often be completely improvised, or taken from pre-existing “stock” music. My score is a combination of these ideas. It is a modern score in that the music was written for the film, complete with leitmotifs for characters [as I’ve seen Howard Shore do]; yet the presentation aspect (performing the work live) follows in principle the old style.

  • Scoring a film presented a number of challenges for me. For one, I haven’t really written many film scores; I’ve been focused exclusively on writing music for the concert hall. Writing music where I have to match up exactly with the time constraints of each section to Chaplin’s film can be difficult - I have to force myself to reign in melodies or ideas that, if I were writing for a Piano Sonata, could be the basis for an entire movement. I had just finished Muse of Fire by the time I was ready to try this. Comedy was a completely new genre for me. I’ve written a few quirky things here and there, but for this score, I couldn’t get too sentimental or too over-the-top like I could with the Shakespeare work. I turned to elements of jazz and inspiration from the Animal Crossing series especially with this more laid-back, comical piece.

  • Below are five excerpts of music from the film. This film score was produced from an academic Senior Inquiry project at Augustana College.

A Night in the Show score (2019): Text
A Night in the Show score (2019): Video
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