Examining cartoons from a musicological perspective, Goldmark does frame-by-frame readings of such works as "What's Opera, Doc?" Occasionally, this approach seems overserious, but it helps explain the artful mechanics behind a classic sequence like that of Elmer Fudd chasing after Bugs while wearing a Viking helmet and singing "Kill the wabbit" to Wagner's "Walkure" leitmotif. Goldmark compares such spirited culture-tweaking favorably with the ponderous high-culture aspirations of Disney's "Fantasia." Elsewhere, discussing cartoons' use of jazz and their frequently racist depictions of black musicians, he draws the provocative conclusion that "cartoons are, in many ways, a natural extension of the minstrel show." He also compares cartoons to ballet, and he quotes a manifesto in which Scott Bradley (the composer of much music for "Tom and Jerry") imagines the "Cartoon Music of the Future": "Think of 'Pelleas and Melisande,'" Bradley wrote optimistically, "and mise en scene by Dali."
Copyright © 2006 The New Yorker
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From the Inside Flap
"A major contribution to the emerging literature on American animation. In its exploration of animation music, it is without peer. Engagingly written, this is the only book-length study available on the topic, and it offers an important new view on animated film."Mark Langer, Carleton University
"A foundational work in animation and film music studies, and is likely to be inspirational for additional work in both fields."Jeff Smith, author of The Sounds of Commerce
"Never facilely reductive, Goldmark's analyses of Carl Stalling's well-known populist propensity for non-stop musical quotation and Scott Bradley's brilliant but borderline condescending aspirations to 'elevate' the form are complex and multilayered. As a bonus, Daniel Goldmark complements his scholarly referencing of relevant secondary source material with refreshing (and, these days, quite rare!) forays into original research, unearthing surprising, never-before-seen archival elements."Greg Ford, Executive Producer, "The Carl Stalling Project"
"Daniel Goldmark has written a remarkable account of the history of animation music. His new book Tunes For 'Toons is a 'must read' for both the animation neophyte and the die-hard fan. The section on legendary composer Carl Stalling is worth the price of admission by itself."Alf Clausen, Composer, "The Simpsons"
"Great book. It answers numerous who, what, and why questions about cartoon music."Mark Mothersbaugh, film composer