Music: Silent Music

On the stage of a raffish Broadway movie house in Manhattan last week, the antics of a 13-piece orchestra made audiences fidget and giggle. The band was going through all the motions: the swart, longish-haired leader led away; the brasses, the saxophones, the clarinets made a great show of fingering and blowing, but the only sound from the stage was a rhythmic swish-swish from the trap-drummer, a froggy slap-slap from the bull-fiddler, a soft plunk-plunk from the pianist. This, explained Leader Raymond Scott, was silent music.

His explanation fell on almost deaf ears. This...

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