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Exhibit: Adventures In Music Jump Page

Adventures in Music

Dave Brubeck

When I was a kid, I always loved the “Wonderful World of Disney” show. It seemed that every show had the word “adventure” in the title. At Disneyland, Walt built a whole land around the concept of “adventure”. Today, I hope to be able to pass along to you a little of my excitement about early to mid 20th century music. I want it to be just as much fun as shooting hippos on the jungle cruise, so let’s all call it an Adventure!

Music has been a part of cartoons since before the dawn of sound. In 1925 Max Fleischer’s Bouncing Ball cartoons were the first to be animated to a musical beat. The action was syncronized so theater organists and audiences could play and sing along with the characters on the screen. The merging of animation and music was a smash hit, and soon all cartoons were timed to music.

Adventures in Music

Music shares an indescribable magic with animation. It’s hard to describe in words exactly why certain walk cycles or pantomime gags are so wonderful. Music is a source of non-verbal delight as well. The rhythms and pacing of cartoons often mirror the construction of popular music with a statement of theme followed by variations, culminating in a restatement of the theme and a big finish. If you think about it, the best cartoons are inseparable from music.

Below are links to the entire series of posts on this topic. Feel free to jump into the comments and join in the conversation.

I’m going to start out with a classic Disney animated short that attempts to outline the families of musical instruments with an emphasis on the importance of rhythm to music. They made a sequel to it called “Melody” a year later, but they never got around to making the logical third installment, “Harmony”. Maybe someday, someone will pick up where they left off and complete the trilogy.

Here is “Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom”…


This series of posts originally appeared as part of my guest blogging stint on BoingBoing.

I hope these articles inspire you to investigate new types of music and integrate what you discover into your film making. Music and animation are Siamese twins. Think of them as a team from the very start of planning your film. Adding music like wallpaper as the final step the way modern television animation is often scored is a total waste of a great opportunity.

Stephen Worth
Animation Resources

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