All Quiet? Film Music and the First World War
The 9th Symposium on film music studies will take place at the Berlin Humboldt University
with a thematic focus on the First World War, which broke out in the late summer of 1914.
Starting on June 6 2014. The German Historical Museum in Berlin will show an exhibition
“1914–1918. The First World War” accompanied by a retrospective of related films in the
Zeughaus Cinema in July/August. The Kieler Gesellschaft für Filmmusikforschung offers a
filmography on its home page. Dozens of movies based on First World War topics have been
produced from the silent period (The Big Parade, 1925) to the present (War Horse, 2011).
However, scholarly literature dealing with film music in this context hardly exists. What is the
role of music in retrospective cinematic interpretations of the events? How do WW I movies
use existing music, e.g. popular, operatic, and symphonic repertoires? How does music
portrait nationalities, friends and foes? How does it represent victory and defeat, loyalty and
treachery, martyrs and heroes, the meaning and the absurdity of war? How do composers cope
with practical restrictions, e.g. censorship? We invite papers on film music in the context of
the events 1914–18, especially with regard to early aerial combat and the much neglected
noneuropean theatres of war but also to propaganda, espionage, nationalism and WWI
documentaries. As usual, we invite free papers as well. However, preference will be given to
contributions focussing on the main subject of the meeting.
Conference languages: German and English
Submit title, abstract (300 words max) and contact information to
Deadline: January 31, 2013.