Il progetto Cabiria

The Project

Those who study film music often have to deal with a dearth of resources, the lack of information and, especially for Italy, the scarcity of special documentation centres. Scores, drafts, sound recordings (and secondary resources like correspondences, journals etc.) are scattered throughout libraries, archives and private collections: a situation made worse by the carelessness for a type of recently manufactured and hence not particularly valuable "objects" and by the age-old insufficient musical knowledge of the staff in charge of their registration in inventories and catalogues.

The urgency in retrieving and preserving from often precarious conditions manuscript and printed film scores, together with the belief that more available sources and information would contribute to define a scientific methodology useful for a historical-critical analysis of the role of film music and for the speculations on soundtrack restoration, urged a group of music and cinema professors currently in the Dipartimento di Studi Umanistici at the University of Turin to participate to the Bando Regionale per progetti di ricerca in materia di Scienze Umane e Sociali (2008) with a research entitled Cabiria – Census, Cataloguing and Study of Manuscript and Printed Music for the Cinema in Piedmont. Approved and funded by the Regione Piemonte (D.D. n. 151, 7 August 2009), this project had the following goals:

  • carrying out a census of manuscript and printed film scores held in Piedmont institutions
  • creating an online public access catalogue and providing (in compliance with current copyright legislation) digitised items
  • studying recovered scores and drawing up critical essays on film music from different perspectives (musicological, aesthetical, ethnomusicological, bibliographical), to contribute to the definition of a methodology with philological foundations, essential also for soundtrack restoration.

The local scope of this project has found a reason in the profile of the city it was conceived in: one of the cinema capitals in the early decades of the 20th century, cradle of hundreds of films (first of all, Cabiria, this research has taken its title from), home to prominent studios and music publishers.

Institutions involved in the project

Museo Nazionale del Cinema


 - Museo Nazionale del Cinema


Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte


 - Istituto per i Beni Musicali in Piemonte



Conference papers on the project


Bibliography on the project