Buster Keaton Film Music

Ingenious creative score writing for silent movies to bring them to life
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Commissions

On receiving commissionsI would compose a bespoke musical score for a Silent Movie or even for an original film. Please contact me to discuss the role you would like the music to play in your film of choice. I am open to writing music which follows the action closely, either comic or serious, but I am equally happy to write something less specific which captures the essence of the story.

I am proud of the music I have written to date and the approach I use satisfies me and has had great success with my audiences. I follow the action in three main ways:
Firstly, I use “Leitmotifs”. These can be used to portray characters, such as my theme for Johnny Gray in “The General” or the “Sailor’s Hornpipe” theme which describes Steamboat Bill. I also use them to depict relationships between characters, such as Johnny’s love for his girl in “The General”. They can represent inanimate objects central to a film as well – such as ‘Train’ or ‘Boat’ themes.

Secondly, I interject comedic quotes linked to the action. For example, I use the 1812 overture for appearances of the cannon in “The General” This is then changed into a ragtime version of the theme to match a later comic episode in the film. In “Steamboat Bill Jr” I composed a quirky waltz to emulate Junior’s foppish behaviour. I also use ‘Rage over a lost penny’ for the car chases, inverting it as the car reverses!

Thirdly, the scores for both films are written to precisely synch with the on-screen action. This is literally to the nanosecond. Every pratfall and double take is reflected immediately in the music.

As you can see, my approach in these films is mostly gag-based but I do also adapt the leitmotifs to reflect a range of more serious emotional states – anger/fear/sadness etc.

For your commission, I am happy to use the above approach but am also open to new ideas. We can explore ways of using music to capture your interpretation of the film and it’s central ideas. We can also discuss other details of our collaboration, including how often to meet up, budget etc. I look forward to meeting you!

"Kieran White's score, and his live accompaniment, raises an already almost perfect film to fresh heights.
Even if you've seen 'The General' a hundred times, this is an entirely new experience. There are emotions and laughs that you may not have spotted before - Kieran presses buttons that may not have been previously pressed.

It's a shame that Buster Keaton never knew that his flawless performance could actually be enhanced.
You can watch 'The General' online for free, you can maybe see it in cinemas occasionally but whatever you do, don't pass on the opportunity to see it like this"

MARK HERMAN

DIRECTOR OF “BRASSED OFF”, “LITTLE VOICE” AND “THE BOY IN
THE STRIPED "PYJAMAS"

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Steamboat Bill Jr

Steamboat Bill, Jr. is a 1928 silent comedy film starring Buster Keaton. Released by United Artists, the film is the last product of Keaton's independent production team and set of gag writers.

About Steamboat Bill Jr
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The General

The General is a 1926 American silent comedy film released by United Artists. It was inspired by the Great Locomotive Chase, a true story of an event that occurred during the American Civil War.

About The General
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