Since the invention of digital technology and audio sampling, many motion pictures have been able to rely on digital samples to mimic the sound of live instruments, and many scores are created and performed wholly by the composers themselves. Compositions are written to begin and end at specific points during the film in order to enhance the dramatic narrative and the emotional impact of the scene.
Silent film soundtracks tend to be a bit different. I find myself pushed to find new ideas and solutions in order to retain interest. It is a true challenge of creativity to compose for long periods of time such as the span of a hour or longer silent film, but I find the process pleasantly immersive.
Sanctuary - from Metropolis
Witch Burn - from Metropolis
Cesare Awakens - from Caligari
Police Station - from Caligari