Finnally figured out subtle differences in Scott Badley's music over the years

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Eric B
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Finnally figured out subtle differences in Scott Badley's music over the years

Postby Eric B » Thu Oct 20, 2011 2:32 pm

I always noticed the subtle changes in the backgroundmusic fromt he 40's to the 50's. The first things I had picked out.

40's, definite tunes played throughout whole scenes (which often tended to be faster paced, but even when slower paced, the music was more continuous).
50's, tunes used in much shorter sequences. They also usually did not have as much of the same rhythm as the older stuff. The older stuff was more "jazzy". There were many more "dead air" periods with no music at all; especially when there was a talking character who was speaking at the moment.

Throughout the whole period, music was synchronized with movements (such as scurrying around to a a rolling string piece), but earlier on, this was woven into or between common tunes, while later one, this made up the bulk of the music.

Still, it seemed to be more than that. What I have recently realized, was that it was also the instrumentation itself. The older tunes are dominated by horns, but the newer music is almost all the string orchestras. Horns might still be used occasionally, but most often are relegated to sharp quick movements (Such as Jerry and the two elephants jumping behind of from behind walls in "Jerry and Jumbo").

"Muscle Beach Tom" is a late instance of using the older fashioned horn based tune in places, and that resembles the 40's sound. Instances like this helped make the differences stand out.

"Milky Waif" seemed to be the beginning of the new sound. It starts off with a slower tune where strings and horns alternate, but in inbetween slower segments (focusing on Nibbles), it resembles the 50's sound. Even in the faster chase music (which is a variation of the T&J theme) the strings dominate over the horns. Cat Fishin' is similar, and having even less horn music.

The "Invisible Mouse" takes it a step further, introducing the newer version of the Jerry Mouse theme, which plays repeatedly as he walks around invisible. The older style of music surfaces mainly at the towards the end. (Including the reuse of a tune from "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Mouse". This is credited as a version of "Here's to the Girls").
This new Jerry theme would be used heavily in the earlier 50's. The newer version of the Tom theme began surfacing around '45-6 and also came to be heavily used around this time. (The earliest uses might be "the Mouse That Came To Dinner", when he's calling the girl. It seems to be tied in with the "I've Got it bad and that is good" tune. It might also be at the end of the previous film "Mouse Trouble", in the scenes with the windup toy mouse and the closing card, but that that might be apart of something associated with the girl mouse. Night that be "I've Got It Bad and That is Good" as well? The whole version of the Tom theme I'm thinking of can be heard in "Cat Fishin'" in both scenes when Tom uses Jerry as bait. It starts out as the "new" them, and then turns into the "old" theme).

The updating of these themes also figures in the difference between the late 40's and the early 40's. The two themes did gradually come to be used less as the 50's went on.

I had noticed that in some ways, the earlier music ('40-43), including for the other series besides Tom & Jerry, resembled the later sound in some way. It seems in those earlier films, there was also less horns, even though you still had the older style of tunes that play across several sequences. These are usually the older versions of the individual Tom and Jerry themes. (I'm thinking right now of "Fraidy Cat" which consists almost entirely of those two tunes). So that still made me wonder why it still sounded different.
On other series, where you usually had talking characters, there were more periods without music, or with shorter stretches of tunes playing, between dialogue.

So that later 40's sound seemed to just reflect the more "jazzy" tone of the period. And I imagine that string orchestras are more expensive than horn sections, so as the budget increased, they moved more towards that, and also cut costs by using less continuous music.

I also sometimes look at the changes in Carl Stalling's music during the same time. He seems to have stayed more the same as far as instumentation, though you did have a bit more of the more continuous and jazzier tunes in the 40's. But perhaps not as much as Bradley.
Of course, the sound of the WB cartoons changed in the mid 50's when Stalling left and was replaced by Franklyn.

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Cartoonfanatic201
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Postby Cartoonfanatic201 » Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:21 pm

Your Analyzation of Scott Bradly's underscore history in the MGM Cartoons is phenomenal, even Daniel Goldmark couldn't have done as good as you did.

You should follow this thread up on an analyzation of Carl Stalling's underscore considering what you mentioned at the bottom of the post.

But anways, I would like to add to what you posted. The Scott Bradley MGM underscores seemed more spontaneous while the Carl Stalling LT/MM scores sound more "Cut and Paste", considering that He would only record the scoring for the cartoons and would reuse the separately recorded themes as a staple for the films. while at MGM, since the whole score was done at once, they would sound more spontaneous and sometimes go a little off track, but then usually coming back when the cartoon starts.

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Eric B
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Postby Eric B » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:30 pm

Tom & Jerry is on CN right now, and I have to rewind the DVR cable box to Looney Tunes to reference Stalling's music right now. (Luckily the last two shown were Kiss Me Cat and Scaredy Cat,which are Stalling).

I was always more into Tom & Jerry, and Bradley's music did always seem more interesting (which is why I best remember his productions). So it will be harder for me to analyze Stalling like that.

Right off the bat, the average Stalling scene will feature a flute and strings playing a tune or just a soft background, interspersed with sharp horn "stings" (as Beck & Friewald call them) marking some action (usually a sudden movement or shocked view of something). Bradley has that as well, but it stands out more in Stalling, because of the lack of the more continuous tunes playing.

This is pretty much the way Stalling's score always was. (I'm thinking of as much of The Wild Hare as I can remember, at the moment). To compare with Bradley, it would actually be more like the later period, when Bradley's score had cooled down a bit, to just lighter string orchestra effects rather than jazzy continuous tunes.

In the pre-48 period, you did have some of that from Stalling. Like I most remember parts of A Tale of Two Kitties (Like when Catstello is pulling the anvil down on himself) and Gruesome Twosome (towards the beginning). But it's not as extensive as Bradley (and not quite as heavy on the horns, it seems).

One of his most common recurring themes is "Powerhouse", which is mostly strings, and the horns are more subdued, "behind" the strings. Again, when the scene changes, there usually isn't another extended tune like that right away. It just goes back to the sound effect instrumentation.

(BTW, a good way to get a sense of comparison is to watch 50's cartoons that reuse scenes of 40s cartoons. Like right this moment, "Smitten Kitten" is on. The older stuff really stands out from the new storyline it has been embedded in)

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klangley
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Postby klangley » Fri Oct 21, 2011 12:34 pm

Part of the change in Bradley's music could be attributed to the growing influence of composer Arnold Schoenberg and his twelve tone method in his scoring.

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The Spectre
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Postby The Spectre » Fri Oct 21, 2011 3:26 pm

Eric B wrote:
The "Invisible Mouse" takes it a step further, introducing the newer version of the Jerry Mouse theme, which plays repeatedly as he walks around invisible. The older style of music surfaces mainly at the towards the end. (Including the reuse of a tune from "Dr. Jeckyll and Mr. Mouse". This is credited as a version of "Here's to the Girls").


I don't think this is the "Here's To The Girls" variation. I think that is actually the opening titles, where the first few notes are the lead-in to "Here's To The Girls" before it veers into something more ominous.

The reuse from "Dr Jekyll and Mr Mouse" also appears in a slower form in "Trap Happy" near the beginning (when Jerry is standing casually in his mouse-hole and Tom is too tired to chase him) and "Part Time Pal" (after Tom sobers up the first time and Jerry is slowly beginning to realise). It's probably in other cartoons too, and I've often wondered if it's a pre-existing song or just something Bradley wrote as incidental music.

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Eric B
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Postby Eric B » Sun Oct 23, 2011 6:58 pm

the tune I'm talking about from Dr Jeckyll & Mr. Mouse is the fast paced chase score when Tom starts after Jerry and tries to get rid of him after jumping off the lump on his head (like the multiple suitcases up to locking the milk in the safe). The was reused in The Invisible Mouse with the golf club sequences at the very end. It sounded like the "Here's to the Girls" tune that characterizes Salt Water Tabby, and it was credited as such by Brion's T&J tribute book, so I figured it was probably a variation of it.

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The Spectre
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Postby The Spectre » Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:46 am

That's the one I'm talking about as well.


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