DFF’s Music Archive comprises collections of sound carriers, written material, playback devices and instruments. It contains individual sound recordings as well as complete record collections, such as the archive of the Mechanical Music & Movie Centre, Cornwall and a private collection with soundtracks and musical recordings of the 1950s to the 1980s. The archive also holds about 1,500 shellac records and an extensive collection of sound recordings with cinema organ music.
The archive contains around 1,000 international music anthologies of the silent film era, scores of original music (or compilations) and new compositions for silent films, including various original scores by the film composer Giuseppe Becce. In addition, there are further original scores, orchestral scores (primarily of German film music up to 1970) and some 2,000 sheet music. Particularly noteworthy are the autographs of the scores of composers, such as Wolfgang Keller’s estate of 300 scores. In addition, DFF keeps books, articles, directories, cue sheets (lists of individual pieces of music for silent films) and publisher catalogues on film music – from its creation to the present day.
Moreover, DFF preserves more than 1,000 Edison rolls from the early days of cinema. our Technical Archive contains shellac record players, self-playing musical instruments including paper rolls and other playback equipment from the early days of cinema, including 15 Edison roller phonographs, for example. All the necessary playback equipment is available for listening to and transferring the sound carriers.