Student Author(s)

Kelsey O'Brien

Faculty Mentor(s)

Drs. Julia Randel and Jayson Dibble

Document Type


Event Date



Silent films comprised an important stage in the history of filmmaking, as both an exciting form of entertainment and a new way to communicate ideas. A crucial influence in the success of these films was the partnership between music and moving pictures, contributing to the overall success of the films and supplementing the audience experience. By conveying moods, contexts, and themes, music for silent films has consistently added a layer of believability to the action on screen and assisted the audience in understanding the location, context, and tone of film, thus allowing them to be more easily immersed in the story. Gottfried Huppertz’s score to the 1927 film Metropolis used the technique of leitmotifs to illustrate distinct characters and assist in the narrative of the story. In Ludovic Bource’s score to the 2011 film The Artist, the themes of the characters develop along with the characters themselves. Music is an essential, foundational aspect of silent film, pushing the films to success and enhancing the overall experience.