The Piano on Film


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About the Book

Since the early days of silent film accompaniment, the piano has played an integral part in the history of cinema. Film’s fascination with the piano, both in soundtracks and onscreen as a status symbol and icon of popular romanticism, offers a revealing opportunity to chart the changing perception of the instrument. From Mozart to Elton John, this book surveys the cultural history of the piano through the instrument’s cinematic functions. Composer biopics, such as A Song to Remember, romantic melodramas like the Liberace vehicle Sincerely Yours, and horror films such as The Hands of Orlac, along with animated cartoons featuring Bugs Bunny and Tom and Jerry demonstrate just how pervasive the cinematic image of the piano once was during a period when the piano itself began its noticeable decline in everyday life. By examining these depictions of the piano onscreen, readers will begin to understand not only the decline of the piano but also the decline of the idealistic culture to which it gave birth in the nineteenth century.

About the Author(s)

David Huckvale has worked as a researcher, writer and presenter for BBC Radio and as a lecturer for various universities in England. He lives in rural Bedfordshire.

Bibliographic Details

David Huckvale
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 220
Bibliographic Info: 31 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2022
pISBN: 978-1-4766-8634-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-4388-5
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Introduction 1
One. The Romantic Piano 7
Two. Picture Palace Pianos 35
Three. Paderewski and Liberace 64
Four. Grand Galop Cinématique 81
Five. Piano Lessons 103
Six. Practice Makes Perfect 115
Seven. Surrogate Pianos 149
Eight. Sex and Violence 158
Finale 187
Chapter Notes 191
Bibliography 195
Index 201