Harry Smith music

From: Pip Chodorov (email suppressed)
Date: Mon Mar 13 2006 - 18:00:18 PST

I thought the first few Early Abstraction films were carefully based
on early jazz pieces, just as some of his early paintings were. The
rhythms in the film match rhythms in the music, as well as heartbeat
and breathing rhythms. Those films were made in the 40s. Later he
abandoned that music and would show the films with random records or
even the radio. Twenty years later, Harry Smith asked Jonas Mekas to
print the films with new music, claiming that they were made for
contemporary music, and new audiences needed new contemporary music.
Jonas went down to the store and picked out the newest big thing:
Meet the Beatles. In that spirit, I think it would be fine to show
the films with the radio, or with techno, or anything that comes
along. When Mystic Fire released the video, they added a Teijo Ito
Interesting how someone who spent a good part of his life collecting
and curating music never seemed to worry much about the sound for his
-Pip Chodorov

>When I was teaching, a long time ago, I sometimes would show the
>whole rental print of "Early Abstractions" with the sound, and then
>many sections or the whole thing without the sound. I highly
>recommend seeing it silent. This comparison is one of the best
>demonstrations I know of Stan Brakhage's thesis that the rhythm of a
>sound track tends to dominate the image. Seen silent these short
>films are full of multiple rhythms. THe music greatly
>oversimplifies. Maybe Harry Smith, having made them, was able to see
>the varied rhythms of his films on their now, and the
>music just functioned as an additional layer for him, but I don't
>think that's what happens with most viewers.

For info on FrameWorks, contact Pip Chodorov at <email suppressed>.