Film Composers in America is a landmark in the history of film. Here, renowned film scholar Clifford McCarty has attempted to identify every known composer who wrote background musical scores for films in the United States between 1911 and 1970. With information on roughly 20,000 films, the book is an essential tool for serious students of film and a treasure trove for film fans. It spans all types of American films, from features, shorts, cartoons, and documentaries to nontheatrical works, avant-garde films, and even trailers.
Meticulously researched over 45 years, the book documents the work of more than 1,500 composers, from Robert Abramson to Josiah Zuro, including the first to score an American film, Walter C. Simon. It includes not only Hollywood professionals but also many composers of concert music--as well as popular music and other genres--whose cinematic work has never before been fully catalogued. The book also features an index that lets readers quickly find the composer for any American film through 1970.
To recover this history, much of which was lost or never recorded, McCarty corresponded with or interviewed hundreds of composers, arrangers, orchestrators, musical directors, and music librarians. He also conducted extensive research in the archives of the seven largest film studios--Columbia, MGM, Paramount, RKO, 20th Century-Fox, Universal, and Warner Bros.--and wherever possible, he based his findings on the most reliable evidence, that of the manuscript scores and cue sheets (as opposed to less accurate screen credits). The result is the definitive guide to the composers and musical scores for the first 60 years of American film.
"McCarty's massive book testifies to his extensive effort to identify composers who have written musical scores for motion pictures in the US, 1911-70, and to uncover the proper authorship of these scores. McCarty should be commended for giving credit where credit is due. Valuable for film and music researchers at all levels."--Choice
"A definitive record of film music's beginnings and its Golden Age of the 40's and 50;s. McCarty's book is a treasure trove- and one...fans ought to delve into with eagerness." Soundtrack Magazine
Orchestrators and Arrangers
A Short History of Film Scores
Terms Used in This Book
Length of Scores
How to Use This Book
Film Composers in America: A Filmography, 1911-1970
Supplementary List of Names
Index of Film Titles