When you think about Charlie Chaplin, the first image that comes to your mind is the little tramp, with his raggedy unkempt clothes, proverbial black cane, slightly crooked hat, and Hitleresque mustache. Chaplin was the master at presenting the human social and political condition of his time, disguised cleverly with humor tinged with sadness. But Chaplin wasn’t only an actor, he was also a composer. His musical talents as a composer are not as well-known. Charlie Chaplin's later films, black and white and silent, were almost always accompanied by Chaplin's own music. His musical scores not only accompanied the films, but intertwined with the hope, sadness, joy, and pain of Chaplin's memorable characters. His music covered a gamut of styles, from sweet themes of love and youth and innocence to more intense rhythmic music to popular dance numbers.
But his abilities as a film score composer were considerable and haven't been given due appreciation. In point of fact Chaplin was the PERFECT composer for his films. Chaplin grew up in a family of performers. Both of Chaplin's parents were singers and actors. Growing up in a performing family gave Chaplin the strong creative background he needed to succeed later on in life with his films. He recalled that in his early childhood his mother, a music-hall singer, would take him with her to the theatre, where he would stand in the wings listening to her and the other acts that made up the show. He also recalled seeing his father, a well known vocalist also called Charles Chaplin perform at the Canterbury Music Hall; and recounted how at home, in the happier times, his mother would regularly entertain him and his step-brother by singing, dancing, reciting and imitating other artists. Aside from the experience of growing up surrounded by the songs of the music hall, Chaplin later often told the story of the revelatory day that “music entered my soul”. Returning home from school to... [continues]
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