How other generations learned about classical music watching cartoons
Don’t judge classical music
until you read this!
What is your belief about classical music? Do you find it boring? Uninteresting? Or Inspirational and moving?
When was the last time you watched a Disney animated movie or cartoon?
Remember Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, Road Runner, or Yosemite Sam?
What makes this even more interesting is many of that generation have said ‘I don’t like classical music’.
A generation learned about classical music through their favourite cartoons.
In the beginning, animations didn’t have dialogues, the way to show emotion was through music, used to portray seriousness, danger, or mischief to the cartoon. One of the main promoters of this trend was Scott Bradley, who was the musical director of some of the best Tom and Jerry animations.
Bradley was also a Disney staff musician; he believed that Cartoon Music was an art with great potential. He also believed that music for animation offered more possibilities to the composer than a live-action film. He began by incorporating popular melodies and later created more complex compositions using an Arnold Schoenberg influenced twelve-tone technique that could be seen in the 1944 Tom And Jerry cartoon Puttin on the Dog, about which he once wrote:
“I hope Dr. Schoenberg will forgive me for using his system to produce funny music, but even the guys in the orchestra laughed when we recorded it.”
Looney Toons musical director Carl Stalling is another representative of this trend that teaches us to feel the wonderfulness of classical music in a fun and entertaining way.
Stalling had his own orchestra and played as an accompaniment for silent films. It is there that he met Walt Disney who was already producing some animated shorts in Kansas City. For experts, the union of these two characters is key to the development of Music in animation. Although Stalling wouldn’t participate in Disney‘s first musical animated short, he did compose scores for Disney such as “Plane Crazy” and “The Gallopin Gaucho” in the 1920s and later became the first music director for Disney studio.
A brief history of classical music composers and animation.
The dilemma between which should come first if the Music or the animation ended in the creation of Disney‘s animated short film “Silly Symphonies”. Stalling composed and arranged The Skeleton Dance in 1929. He left Disney after completing 20 animated films and went on to do freelance work for Disney and others. Years later, he participated in two animated series for the Warner Bros studio Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies produced by the Schlesinger studio. Since the 1930’s he was the Composer of the soundtracks of most of the animated shorts made by Warner Bros. After carl’s retirement in the 1950’s Milt Franklyn became the main composer for Warner Bros, and in turn, was replaced by William Lava upon his retirement in the 1960s.
Walt Disney, Silly Symphonies
Minuet in G – Ludwig van Beethoven ( Min 0:26) Gavotte – François -Joseph Gossec ( Min 2:14) March of the knights – Sergei Prokofiev (Min 4:14) The ride of the Valkyries – Richard Wagner (Min: 6:17) Lohengrin: bridal chorus – Richard Wagner (Min: 8:13)
Looney Tunes, Rabbit of Seville
The Barber of Seville – Gioachino Rossini (Min 0:52)