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The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model
61 minutes | 5 months ago
ep. 38: scoring for scenes that suggest or specify a piece of music, and scoring a film from 1948
On this episode Ben talks about meeting an audience’s expectations of a score when a certain piece of music or style is indicated onscreen, and in a rare case of a non-narrative film made after the silent era. Also covered are silent era mood cues and cue sheets, Marion Davies in “When Knighthood Was in Flower”, techniques in performance to match music to action, this episode’s FAQ, and more. Live performance clips include Valentino’s tango dance in “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”, Keaton’s pantomime to “The Prisoner’s Song”, and Ben’s new score for Helen Levitt’s “In the Street” (1948). episode 38: Existing Music, Mood Cues and Cue Sheets Historically authentic accompaniment vs. modern scores for silent films Tango, dancing on-screen and staying in synch with the dancers Ben’s score for Four Horsemen as played at MOMA in November 2019 Improvising so that it sounds like a piece that had already been written Listener Erik Andersson talks about The Silent Comedy Watch Party from Salem, Oregon Accompanying a non-narrative documentary, In the Street by Helen Levitt for the Metropolitan Museum of Art Arthur Kleiner, accompanist for MoMA, and his score for In The Street Ben’s score for In The Street A documentary written and hosted by Arthur Kleiner, Hollywood’s Musical Moods Sponsorship announcement: When Knighthood Was in Flower from Undercrank Productions Pre-existing music: Victor Herbert themes for When Knighthood Was in Flower Performing Steamboat Bill, Jr. exclusively for Cinema Arts Centre via live streaming Acknowledging “The Prisoner’s Song” without risking copyright violation Staying in synchronization with physical action — the “pick up” How playing for live streaming differs from a theatrical performance Preparing applause moments in Buster Keaton films Frequently Asked Questions: Do you use published cue sheets and mood cues? What about music or songs referred to on-screen? Mood cues are often too long and have insufficient changes How expectations of musical underscore changed in the sound era Adapting mood cues as part of an improvised score If the title of a piece of music is shown, you must use it Recommendations: Kerr: The Laurel and Hardy Definitive Restorations from Kit Parker Films Ben: The Spiders by Fritz Lang with a score by Ben from Kino Lorber Links from the episode: The Silent Comedy Watch Party, Sundays on YouTube The Alloy Orchestra In The Street scored by Ben for the Metropolitan Museum of Art In The Street scored by Arthur Kleiner Hollywood’s Musical Moods documentary with Arthur Kleiner When Knighthood Was in Flower on Blu Ray and DVD from Undercrank Productions Victor Herbert’s music for When Knighthood Was In Flower discussed at Ben’s blog Sheet music for Victor Herbert’s When Knighthood Was In Flower tix for The Kid live-stream at Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, NY The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra After the Silents by Michael Slowik The Music of the Silent Films edited by Ben Model Send us a question here, whether or not it’s frequently asked! box set: Laurel and Hardy: The Definitive Restorations The Spiders by Fritz Lang with a score by Ben Model from Kino Lorber
60 minutes | 5 months ago
ep. 37: Mostly Lost, Keaton’s The Cameraman and The General, an electric organ and Laurel & Hardy
On this episode Ben talks about: the annual Mostly Lost film identification workshop at the Library of Congress, currently postponed until 2021; underscoring a key scene in Keaton’s “The Cameraman” and noticing a parallel with “Singin’ In The Rain”, playing for “Spite Marriage”, the challenge of introducing and presenting “The General” at a college show; playing for Laurel & Hardy on a 1980s electric theatre organ, and using that console’s MIDI function to bring the sound of the Wurlitzer to a cinema; how Ben chooses and utilizes piano or organ for score recordings, and much more. episode 37: “Comedy Today! – Buster Keaton and Laurel & Hardy” Missing the Mostly Lost workshop, cancelled this year due to the pandemic Making an alternate accompaniment for The Cameraman The Cameraman’s kiss in the rain and Singin’ In The Rain: Copy, homage or coincidence? Spite Marriage comes to life with an audience Mark Fuller, member of Southwest Silents in Bristol, England talks about The Silent Comedy Watch Party Putting The General in context and avoiding too much chase music Sponsorship: Found at Mostly Lost, Volumes 1 & 2 from Undercrank Productions How Ben became a home video distributor Finding different ways to accompany the scare gags in Liberty with Laurel & Hardy Playing Wurlitzer sampled sound through MIDI at the AFI Silver Theatre on an Allen 3600 electric organ FAQ – How do you record your prepared accompaniments? Kerr recommends the podcast You Must Remember This: Episodes 121-131, Fact-checking Hollywood Babylon – the Silent Era Links from the episode: The Mostly Lost workshop Buster receives a kiss in the rain in The Cameraman (We recommend you turn the sound off.) The Cameraman and Singin’ In The Rain side by side on YouTube Spite Marriage – Buster puts his drunken bride to bed (Ignore the Oscar Peterson music track) Found At Mostly Lost Volume 1 – DVD from Undercrank Productions Found at Mostly Lost Volume 2 – DVD from Undercrank Productions Liberty with a non-synchronous Victor music track You Must Remember This: Fact-Checking Hollywood Babylon – Episode 1: Griffith and the Gish Sisters
59 minutes | 6 months ago
ep. 36: scoring Robin Hood and a 1927 Carmen, using the orchestral and cartoony sounds of a theatre organ, more live-streaming
On this episode Ben talks about: using music an audience may or may not expect to hear during a film in preparing scores for shows of Fairbanks’ “Robin Hood” and Raoul Walsh’s “Loves of Carmen”; using underscore to help smooth over missing footage; playing the theatre organ like it’s an orchestra and sparingly using its “toy counter”; expanding his live-streamed silent film shows beyond his weekly “Silent Comedy Watch Party”, and more. episode 36: “Famous Players and Famous Melodies” Silent Comedy Watch Party update Accompanying Westerns – Art Acord in The Showdown and William S. Hart in Three Word Brand Fairbanks’s Robin Hood; incorporating songs written for the film by Victor Schertzinger Programming Douglas Fairbanks films for performance today Kelly Kitchens from Dallas talks about The Silent Comedy Watch Party The Loves of Carmen versus the melodies of Bizet Improvising in the style of traditional folk music forms Creating musical bridges for missing frames and scenes Expanding live streaming accompaniment to silent film online for art houses and institutions Sponsorship: Accidentally Preserved Volume 4 from Undercrank Productions Playing more orchestrally for The White Sister starring Mary Pickford and Ronald Colman FAQ: “Don’t”s and “be careful”s for sound effects on a theater organ (the “toy counter”) Kerr recommends Kanopy, a streaming classic film service. Links from the episode: Watch The Silent Comedy Watch Party Episode 11 Watch The Silent Comedy Watch Party Episode 12 Watch The Showdown starring Art Acord, accompanied by Ben Watch Three Word Brand starring William S. Hart accompanied by Ben Read Rosie Taylor’s blog post about Three Word Brand at Southwest Silents Hewlett Woodmere Public Library “Just An Old Love Song” by Victor Schertzinger written for Robin Hood (1922) The Museum of Modern Art Department of Film Steamboat Bill, Jr. online with live accompaniment by Ben Model for The Cinema Arts Center (Huntington NY) Accidentally Preserved Volume Four Suggest a Frequently Asked Question for Ben to answer in the podcast Nick White’s Vintage Sound Effects Mike Dobson – composer, sound designer and foley artist Kanopy Streaming Classic Film
53 minutes | 6 months ago
ep. 35: Pottery at the Met, Behind the Door in Nebraska, Eisenstein in Bklyn, Clair on Long Island, plus FAQ
On this episode, Ben Model talks with co-host Kerr Lockhart talk about a cancelled gig at the Metropolitan Museum of Art turning into an online one, Gage County Nebraska and Hollywood, accompanying Russian silent films, scoring a French film for an audience with live-translated intertitles. Plus: using leitmotifs, finding a lost reel of a Baby Peggy comedy, piano tuning and this week’s silent film book recommendation. You’ll hear excerpts from Ben’s last show before the pandemic shutdown, a screening in Brooklyn and one with theater organ on Long Island. Episode 35 Show Notes Ben talks about accompanying two short documentaries for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Pottery Maker(1926) directed by Robert Flaherty (Nanook of the North); and A Visit to the Home of Childe Hasam. Ben discusses accompanying Behind The Door, a film with Nebraska roots at a screening in Beatrice, NE on March 7, 2020 hosted by the Gage County Historical Society and Film Institute. He talks about making an effort to play more simply to match the broad melodrama of the film. We reflect on the number of very famous performers from Nebraska, Henry Fonda, Marlon and Jocelyn Brando, and Johnny Carson, who gave his name to the performance arts center at the University of Nebraska, where Ben appeared on the local public radio performing arts program. Another Nebraska notable — George D. Baker, prolific director for Vitagraph. Ben introduces his February 11, 2020 live performance of Strike at St Francis College in Brooklyn for Prof. Scott Weiss. The challenges include (a) how much should the accompaniment indicate the national or ethnic setting of the film; and (b) how does the accompaniment deal with Eisenstein’s associative montage? Kerr asks Ben how he keeps mind and fingers nimble during this stay-home time. Ben has renewed his skills at tuning and repairing his piano. Also, he keeps working on how to play for an audience of one over the internet on the Silent Comedy Watch Party, and on developing new musical phrasings and ideas. Ben introduces his December 11, 2019 performance to support Rene Clair’s Les Deux Timides at The Cinema Arts Center at Huntington, Long Island. He talks about how loyal and receptive the Cinema Arts audience is to lesser-known titles. Ben also explains how they perform live spoken titles for foreign-language titled films. Ben talks about how strong audience reaction at the live exhibitions of unusual films and new restorations can often drive home video release. FAQ: How important is the use of motifs to accompany silent film. Ben talks about how there often was overuse of the idea in the silent era; but when they are used to represent not only the characters, but the character’s journey, the judicious use of themes, perhaps three times in a film, help the audience follow the progress of the film; he talks about the trap of making the audience overly aware of the motifs. Recommendation: Kerr recommends Rediscovering Roscoe: The Films of “Fatty” Arbuckle by Steve Massa. Links from the episode: Watch The Pottery Maker (1926) on the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Vault Series website and read the article about it on the museum’s blog. It’s true…I’m in an oil painting by Max Ferguson. See it here, and also you can buy the book of Max’s paintings, Lulu in New York, that has the painting I’m in on the cover Behind the Door (1919), restored by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, is available on DVD and Blu-ray from Flicker Alley. Beatrice NE mentions: The Gage County Classic Film Institute, the Beatrice Community Players theater, the Johnny Carson Center for Emerging Media Arts, and Friday Live with Genevieve Randall on NET radio Baby Peggy in The Family Secret (1923) is available on DVD from Undercrank Productions The Cinema Arts Centre is Long Island’s arthouse cinema Sign up for emails so you don’t miss out on gig updates and Undercrank Productions DVD news. Recommendations: Steve Massa’s Rediscovering Roscoe: the Films of “Fatty” Arbuckle is available from BearManor Media.
49 minutes | 7 months ago
ep. 34: the Silent Comedy Watch Party, scoring Hitchcock, “Intrigue” and Nell Shipman, plus FAQ
On this episode of the podcast, Ben Model discusses the creation of the Silent Comedy Watch Party and the response so far; talks about teaching his silent film course at Wesleyan using Zoom; shares an excerpt from his score for Alfred Hitchcock’s Champagne for the Hitchcock British International Pictures Collection for Kino Lorber; talks about the annual show at the Idaho State Museum and his collaboration with the Boise Philharmonic, and shares an excerpt from his score for the Nell Shipman film Light On Lookout; discusses the rediscovery of Julia Crawford Ivers during the development of the Kino Lorber box set: Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers; and shares an excerpt from his score for The Intrigue; Kerr Lockhart joins the podcast and begins the new segment: Frequently Asked Questions. This Week: Do you really make it all up as you go along? (Look for an FAQ transcript page coming to this website soon.) Finally, Kerr and Ben exchange self-quarantine recommendations. Kerr recommends Hollywood: A Celebration of the Silent Era and Ben recommends the latest Undercrank Productions DVD Release: The Douglas MacLean Collection Links from the episode: The Silent Comedy Watch Party – Episode 8 Hitchcock British International Pictures Collection from Kino Lorber – Champagne score by Ben Model The Light On Lookout – Boise State Museum; the Boise Philharmonic Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers from Kino Lorber The Intrigue: The Films of Julia Crawford Ivers from Kino Lorber If you’re interested in seeing me perform live, visit my show page; or better yet. sign up for my emails so you don’t miss out on gig updates and Undercrank Productions DVD news. Recommendations: Kevin Brownlow’s Hollywood: A Celebration of the American Silent Film – streaming on Amazon Prime The Douglas MacLean Collection DVD, from Undercrank Productions
52 minutes | a year ago
ep. 33: two takes on The Rink, organ as orchestra for a horse, melodies underscore Marion Davies
On this episode of the podcast — I use a song-title-pun during Mostly Lost, play for the same Chaplin shorts three days in a row to work on an orchestral score, play a Möller in Rome like it’s an orchestra, bring silent comedies to the Adirondacks, score two Marion Davies films in a recording session and at the Library of Congress, and make the sun rise a little faster in Pennsylvania. Plus news about Douglas MacLean, upcoming shows and more. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify or Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon. And, if you want to say “thanks!”, why not buy me a cup of coffee? Links from the episode: My blog post about the historic 1911 Park Theater is here. Read all the backer updates about the Douglas MacLean DVD project on the Kickstarter site’s page. The Silent Clowns Film Series has monthly screenings, for free, at the NYPL at Lincoln Center. My orchestral scores are available for performance here. If you’re interested in seeing me perform live, visit my show page; or better yet. sign up for my emails so you don’t miss out on gig updates and Undercrank Productions DVD news.
45 minutes | 2 years ago
ep. 32: meeting audience expectations, tips on choosing a comedy short, and a trip to Nebraska
On this episode of the podcast, I discuss meeting an audience’s expectations while staying true to the film’s original culture, choosing a comedy short to show newbies, and playing for a show where someone else’s music credit is onscreen; also, Arthur Kleiner accompanies a Harold Lloyd short with an iPhone, 700 kids in Boise laugh at Buster Keaton, I play a MoMA premiere of a newly-discovered film from 1898; plus – news about recent and upcoming shows. Subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify or Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon. And, if you want to say “thanks!”, why not buy me a cup of coffee? Links from the episode: You can view Something Good – Negro Kiss (1898) at the USC Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive’s Vimeo page. My mini-doc about USC archive director Dino Everett and 28mm film is on YouTube. Mostly Lost 8 will be held June 12-15, 2019. The Silent Clowns Film Series has monthly screenings, for free, at the NYPL at Lincoln Center. The Boise ID ABC affiliate did a news story on last year’s concerts, interviewing both me and conductor Eric Garcia. If you’re interested in seeing me perform live, visit my show page; or better yet. sign up for my emails so you don’t miss out on gig updates and Undercrank Productions DVD news.
59 minutes | 2 years ago
ep. 31: Scoring Dracula, Playing for Pat & Patachon, Reaching Younger Fans
On this episode, Ben Model talks about creating and performing a live score on theatre organ for the 1931 “Dracula” with Bela Lugosi, shares some insights about programming the “Silent Comedy International” series at MoMA, and discusses why playing at a suburban library is just as important as playing a big film festival. Performance recordings on this episode are from “Dracula” at the Library of Congress, “Vester Vov Vov” with Danish comedy duo Pat & Patachon (“Fy og Bi”), and Harold Lloyd in “Ask Father”. Plus, there’s news about Ben’s upcoming silent film shows and DVD projects. Be sure you’re on Ben’s email list, so you don’t miss a show or new DVD. And, if you want to say “thanks!”, why not buy him a cup of coffee? Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify and Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
26 minutes | 2 years ago
ep. 30: How To Play the Piano or Organ for a Halloween Silent Movie
On this mini-episode, Ben Model gives you some tips and some do’s & don’t’s on how to accompany a silent movie if you’re doing one this Halloween…or any time of the year. Plus, there’s news about Ben’s upcoming silent film shows and DVD projects. Be sure you’re on Ben’s email list – and if you want to say “thanks!”, buy him a cup of coffee here at Ko-Fi.com Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify and Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
71 minutes | 2 years ago
ep. 29: playing for scene breaks & film breaks, Lee Erwin’s Tootsie Oodles, how’d you get that gig? and more
On this episode, Ben Model recaps his summer silent film shows, discusses musically wrapping up a scene to match the film, talks about what to do musically when the film breaks, traces a 14-year trajectory in a “how’d you get that gig?” story, shares some info on Lee Erwin’s synthesizer-based theatre organ and his novelty song “Tootsie Oodles”, and more. All this plus news about upcoming silent film shows and DVD info. Here are links to Kino Lorber’s new release of Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers, a video of “Matchmaking Mammas”, and Ben’s email list. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
62 minutes | 2 years ago
ep. 28: scoring Laurel & Hardy, Mostly Lost 7, Lois Weber on organ and more
I've recorded and posted a new episode of The Silent Film Music Podcast with Ben Model. It's the podcast that takes you inside the mind of someone as they prepare for, perform and reflect on performances of live musical accompaniments to silent movies. In episode 28 I discuss scoring a Laurel & Hardy silent comedy utilizing a tune many fans of theirs know, recording a new score for Lois Weber's Hypocrites for the new Pioneers: First Women Filmmakers box set for KinoLorber currently screening in select cities, accompanying The Golem at the Morgan Library and Museum, and other insights into the silent film accompaniment process. You can listen below, and can subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher and Overcast.
61 minutes | 3 years ago
ep. 27: organ sounds from Norway and Idaho, a trip to Hollywood, and using main themes
On this episode, Ben Model takes you above the Arctic Circle to hear a pipe organ accompanying a Swedish silent, to Boise ID to its historic 1927 Egyptian Theatre, and to Hollywood for the TCM Classic Film Festival. Ben discusses choosing a main theme for his score "Show People", the importance of John Morris's music for Mel Brooks films, plus some insight on the use and usefulness of a silent film score's main theme. All this plus news about Mostly Lost, upcoming silent film shows and DVD info.Show links: Tromsø International Film Festival, Arctic Cathedral, TCM Classic Film Festival, Mostly Lost 7. Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Overcast; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
65 minutes | 3 years ago
ep. 26: reinterpreting 1929 Buster Keaton, playing into a film, anticipating mood transitions
Welcome and intro - reports on recent shows and recordings, and October DVD releases - starting a score at a performance: playing the audience into the film - performance clip: "The Temptress" with Garbo & Moreno, on organ at the LoC - explanation of the podcast's theme - anticipating mood shifts and when to make the change - performance clip: "Metropolis" in Brooklyn - finding a way to make the most of "Spite Marriage" with Buster Keaton - score clip: original 1929 score recording - reasoning behind my choices for the same sequence - performance clip: "Spite Marriage" at the Iola Buster Keaton Festival - my defunct altscore.com service lives on? - upcoming show info: shorts at the Silent Clowns, Nosferatu in Nyack, Keaton and Slapstick Divas at the AFI Silver - signoff and thank you.Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
62 minutes | 3 years ago
ep. 25: performances in Tromsø, mood demos, universality of laughs, fitting hits to music (or not), “Diane” in reel 5
Welcome and intro - "Silent Film Days" in Tromsø, Norway - demonstrating musical moods for 5th graders - the universality of silent comedy - recording of score for One Week for students - making underscoring fit physical actions in an unobtrusive way - performance recording ofexcerpt from score for L&H in From Soup To Nuts - waiting for just the right moment for the first instance of a love theme - excerpt from performance of Borzage's Seventh Heaven - upcoming DVD release and project info - signoff and thank you.Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Stitcher; please consider supporting the podcast at Patreon.
75 minutes | 3 years ago
ep 24: Stuart Oderman, playing the numbers in Detroit, Show People, The Crowd, DVD news
Welcome and intro - Stuart Oderman - DVD/Blu ray release of "When Knighthood Was In Flower" - holding back in playing in order to get audience inside a character's head - performance excerpt from "Show People" - underscoring a moment that extends into a scene with different energy - performance excerpt from "The Crowd" - Silent Film Days in Tromsø again next month - score recording of Lee Erwin accompanying "The Thief of Bagdad" - upcoming DVD release and project info - signoff and thank you.click to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesIf you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
60 minutes | 4 years ago
ep. 23: Tromsø, Kansas and Toronto Silent Film Festivals, Hindustan, W.C. Fields, being a 360 creator, Knighthood news
Welcome and intro - "Silent Film Days" festival Tromsø (Verdensteatret 100 År!) - performance clip "Madame de Thebes" - scoring "Why Change Your Wife" and hunting for "Hindustan" for the Kansas Silent Film Festival - performance clip "Why Change Your Wife?" - more about scoring WFYW and about seeing William DeMille's films - show prep is more than just musician prep - performance clip "It's The Old Army Game" - being in an oil painting and on a book cover - premiere of my restoration of "When Knighthood Was in Flower" at the Toronto Silent Film Festival - upcoming shows - how you can help silent film - signoff and thank you. click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunes
59 minutes | 4 years ago
ep 22: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #3
00:00 Welcome, and intro to Cruel and Unusual Comedy -- 04:02 More Plots and Plotters -- 11:21 Ethnic Profiling: Stereotypically Speaking -- 19:47 Loco Motives: On the Wrong Track -- 27:52 Scared Silent -- 36:27 Hits of the Past -- 45:29 Working Girls.This episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
49 minutes | 4 years ago
ep 21: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #2
00:00 Welcome, and intro to Cruel and Unusual Comedy -- 04:31 Westward Whoa -- 14:36 Love and War: Romantic Skirmishes -- 26:16 Family Jewels: Child Progeny -- 34:29 Wage Slaves and Working Stiffs -- 40:00 Slapstick HashThis episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
45 minutes | 4 years ago
ep 20: special “Cruel and Unusual Comedy” podcast episode #1
00:00 welcome; intro to special "Cruel and Unusual Comedy" series and podcasts - 05:40 Plots and Plotters - 14:07 Chaplinitis - 26:15 Sports Injuries - 36:11 Arts Deprectiation. This episode contains chapter stops. (Your podcast player may or may not recognize these.)click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
11 minutes | 4 years ago
coming in January 2017: 3 special episodes of the podcast
coming in January 2017: 3 special episodes of the podcast This mini-episode is more of a trailer of sorts for three special podcast episodes that I will post simultaneously in the first half of January 2017.In this 10-minute mini-podcast – first off, I recap some fall DVD releases and a couple that are on tap for spring of 2017. Then you'll hear about some orchestral score performances coming in February, as well as a "Director's Speed" screening of "Sunrise". Finally, the piece de resistance (if you'll pardon my French), some news about "Cruel and Unusual Comedy" at MoMA January 13-26 and the podcasted film notes by Steve Massa that I've produced as a companion guide. Thanks for listening!click here to download or subscribe to podcast on iTunesClick here to stream podcast:If you cannot see the audio controls, your browser does not support the audio element
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