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Frequency another and subdominam Just as V relates to I, so each of the secondary as functionally also function as substitute vibration of a string, but it also determines as keys. However, the same tension, the ratio between frequencies corresponds to the ratio between string lengths. If in a major key they can you halve the length of a string, you doubJe its minor chords for the major chords two steps higher the frequency, creating the octave.

To make a perfect primary triads. Compare the way the relative minor is derived from a major key.

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Because classical music tends to treat minor key harmony the same principle of substituting applied in minor keys, even though These functions then determine for the chord 5th, you reduce the string's length by a third. Since most chords are triads, one note of the triad appears in two differem octaves: it gets doubled. You'll see why if you try playing important is which triad in close position, Ex. The same logic applies to the relation between tonic, dominant a stringed instrument by stopping or fretting the string at ewe-thirds of its length.

Only the the in one of its it to Ex. More since this may be heard as forming part of a melody. Sometimes, though, firsr inversion or second inversion, especially chords: they have the roor in classical music, we use chords in for variety. These sound less resolved. There are rules for which note ro double: Root position chords: double any note. First inversion chords: don't double the bass ie, not the 3rd. Second inversion chords: only double the bass ie, the 5th.

This means close position triads will also work well as second inversion chords, bur not as first inversion chords. Note the right important hand fingerings. However, to realize that chord fingering especially for close position with preceding are for isolated chords , since it also depends or succeeding you may need to rethink minimum these chords. This can happen in all SOrtS of ways, so often fingering ro link chords together smoothly with the of changes of hand position. It one chord and the next, It allows lines or 'parts'. Note how these two rules are related. This general motion, principle your own chord arrangements you is worth in practically any style.

Chord progressions A chord and cadences progression is a sequence respecting the functions of chords and using these to create patterns resolution that sound 'logical'.


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That's because blues emphasizes Perfect fl chords. There are special rules about using chords in second inversion. As in jazz when we use a lead sheet The modern that system of classical chord uses the following abbreviations: Root position: First inversion: Second inversion: Melody or harmony first?

They probably never will There are two ways to think about the relationship between melody and harmony. Even great theorists like Schoenberg and Schenker have struggled to make sense of tbe way Harmony they seem to unfold together. In rhe first case, you may want to create the melody yourself before harmonizing in which case you'll need to think about contour and phrase structure, as well as harmony.

A good melody develops by rising and falling in interesting while introducing it, the shape of the melody , rhythm, subtle variations to a regular underlying bur consistent rhythm. Classical creating 'question and gradually to a high-point melodies often answer' effects. Have another look at the melodies in the pieces you've played so far in this book. Which of the above categories chord structure would you place them in? Why not try analying the of the melodies. Could the chords have been realized in other ways Can you make up a tune of your own chat works with chose chords?

Once you've an idea for a tune of your own, the hardest thing is knowing what to do next. So here's what to do: Try to work out what key and time signature Try writing it's in; it down you'll need some blank manuscript paper ; Wrice out che chords for each degree of the scale of che key of the tune; Look to see if the notes corresponds in each bar, half-bar, form a pattern to some or all of the notes of one of the chords from the scale; Once you've found the implied chords, cry extending 96 or beat, the chord progression; chat Look for motives small but distinctive musical shapes within each phrase that could be repeated or developed.

One way to extend a melody taking a motive and subjecting is through development: this usually consists of one or more of its aspects to a series of changes, but in such a way that it remains recognisable. For example, a common technique is to repeat the tune a step higher or lower, forming a rising or falling sequence. Another altering way is variation: here we repeat some of the details, for example the same basic idea, but each time by adding between long notes - what we call embellishment.

When keyboard instruments c Embellishment Embellishment harmonic is another progression. Many of the standard of embellishment jazz improvisers a melodic techniques belong are ways of connecting to the chord over which up non-harmony they sound with harmony notes which do. A passing note notes, sounding An accented is a non-harmony note moving by step between two harmony off the beat: passing note also moves by step between harmony notes, bur is itself on the beat, creating a dissonance x x ft.

The Renaissance This was a turning point in the history not just of European culture, but of Western music. The 'rebirth' of ancient Greek and Roman values in music rook the form of an emphasis on sung melody lines with chordal accompaniments, so decoration and drama became more important Dominant 7ths than the smooth textures required by the Church The use of embellishment in medieval times. Melody was freed up, reflecting developed, the influence of Arabic and Tslamic musical cultures, and he emergence of the major-minor system allowed chords ro be treated as an independent aspecr of musical structure.

Note how the 7th here, the F resolves downwards by just a semi tone to the 3rd of the next chord. It's natural to hear the 3rd the B of the dominant semitone to the tonic. This is called a leading a semi tone are especially powerful. Wagner used them to introduce chord rising a note effect. These movements In the 19th century the revolutionary more and more chromatic of just composer notes into harmony. You'll find similar things when we look at jazz.

However, in the example above, the 3rd in fact moves down as marked. This relaxation composers of the rules of consonance to add other notes to chords and dissonance to increase tension in their music. This led to the dissolution music, and produced makes jazz improvisation the looser relationship set a precedent the dramatic of tonality between melody for later and expressive in modern classical and harmony that possible as we'll see in Unit 9. V7 Note how the 7th here, the F resolves downwards the next chord. It's natural semi tone to the tonic. However, in the example above, the 3rd in fact moves down to the 5th of the next chord, as marked.

This is only permitted at cadences. This kind of relaxing of the rules of consonance and dissonance set a precedent for later composers to add other notes to chords to increase the dramatic and expressive tension in their music. This led to he dissolution music, and produced the looser relationship of tonality in modern classical between melody and harmony that makes jazz improvisation possible as we'll see in Unit 9. Exercises Using the piano, try to realize the following chord sequences as four-part harmony with appropriate voice-leading.

Where possible play three notes in the right and one in the left. Write each realization down as you do it. Then embellish the top part to produce melodies. Key of F major: I 4. This gives the music its sense of forward motion. Now see if you can add more chords to round off each progression with a cadence. Heinrich Schenker was, along with the composer Arnold important Schoenberg, one of the two most music theorists of the early 20th century. He was born in Galicia now western Ukraine and worked in Vienna, first as a practical musician and composer, and then as a critic.

This led him to investigate the formal basis of the great musical masterpieces, to try to understand what made them special. From the publication of his Theory of Harmony to the end of his life, he concentrated on theoretical work, producing a series of analytical studies culminating in Free Composition. Schenker sought to analyse the extended unfolding of classical forms in terms of tonal forces, emphasising how harmonic direction is shaped and revealed by underlying polyphonic structures of voice-leading, embellished on different levels.

This approach became increasingly influential in the latter part of the 20th century: it was taken up by American music theorists and applied more flexibly to a wider range of musical idioms. Schenker's approach emphasises the linear unfolding of music in time, as opposed to sectional and thematic contrasts, and points to a sense of structural depth foreground and background in music. Also, the importance given to embellishment reveals how even the complex works of great composers may reflect the melodic vocabulary of improvising musicians in unexpected ways.

Different instruments allow the player more or less control over different aspects of sound. This is especially significant with the piano. First the bad news. Here's what you can't do on the piano: control the colour brightness, erc. The last point is important, especially where dynamics are concerned. You can't make a sound get louder, or even keep it at the same level, once it has already begun. Sounds on the piano die away automatically, not cut off by releasing but how long this takes if they're the keys depends on their initial loudness and pitch: louder and lower will last longer than softer or higher.

These changes in sound level within notes are outside your control, so they don't get shown in the written makes it easy to forget that they are occurring. This But staying aware of the level of the sound after it starts means you can decide how other sounds relate to it as louder or softer. And this affects how the original sound gets heard. This trick is central to classical piano playing. And this means creating maximum the illusion that each sounds sings on until the next one, when in fact it dies away.

Now the good news. Here's what you can do: control the overall dynamic level loudness of sounds, unlike with the organ or harpsichord ; control when the sound is Cut off; let the sound continue until it dies away naturally; control the sympathetic resonance of other strings with right-hand alter the tonal quality of the whole instrument left hand pedal, which works like mutes Because you can't control individual pedal ; ro a duller, softer sound using the do on other instruments. This calls for something kind of music one person can play. Differences connecting all good musicians In fact, it allows for much more complexity up sounds in different need in the of tone colour can be evoked through ways, so playing at an advanced level often feels more like being in control of a whole orchestra.

As with passing the thumb under in scales, this requires keeping the wrist as loose as possible. But Using the wrist in phrasing we can also use the wrist to shape phrases. Lifting the wrist as we approach the end Keep the wrist loose and relaxed. Letting it sink of a phrase simultaneously down slightly top makes for a relaxed but full lightens and shortens the last note, making a gap which can also mark the end of the phrase. Conversely, note produces an accent that can emphasise letting the wrist fall as we playa the strong beats of a bar.

Again, this requires looseness of the wrist. The illustration right shows, slightly exaggerated tone. Lifting the wrist near the end of a phrase bottom lightens and shortens the last note, leaving a gap that indicates that the phrase is over. Start by trying this on the piano lid, then begin playing the notes. The second half of the exercise uses this technique Combining this with lateral wrist movement with extra notes in each phrase.

Play it through hands separately, 1,Vith the left hand an octave lower than written. Next we're going to work on a piece called 'Clowns', Dmitri the fingers, it off, so once again come from the same movement. L';";"i Here's an exercise to practise shifting the right hand finger position between the black and white notes, in blocks. Notice how frequently both hands use the same finger at the same time. Start very slowly and speed up gradually. Keep the thumbs light, especially when they play together. Remember, accidentals affect the note in question for the whole of the rest of the bar, unless cancelled by other ones.

The left hand callsfor coupletsat the start, while the right hand has quite a few changes of hand position within the melody. Getting the hands to lift off on different beats of the bar can be tricky here. Watch out for the change of clef in the left hand in the secondline, and for the unusual chromaticthirds fingering there. I 17 flJ,! Each dance has a specific folk tune. Many of these tunes were saved from extinction at the end of the 19th century when Cecil Sharpe and others went into the countryside to record them, since rural traditions were dying out in the face of industrialisation and migration into cities.

Some claim that Morris Dancing dates back to primitive pagan times, but there are no records of it before the 15th century. Others claim that this is a myth, and that the participants invented this colourful history for themselves. The name 'Morris' seems to derive from 'Moorish', leading some to suggest North African origins for the dance. Originally all male, the dances are now often performed by women.

In B flat major, this means we don't always get the same combination of fingers between the hands on the same black notes. Also, the second finger is put in at the start of the right hand, and at the top of the left hand. B flat major fJ 2 I E flat major tJ It. However, patterns see Unit 2 with the the relative minors for the for major scales starting on the same pitch, rather than for the relative majors. So G minor follows G major rarher than B flat major, etc. When this situation approaches, move the hand further into the black keys, even when actually playing white notes.

This can be tricky, especially if you don't have slender fingers, but try to get used to it. Practise hands separately only. B flat major r. G minor r. You'll find rhar you want co strike the keys harder for more sound, which may make your arms and wrists tense up: they can become sciff and lose the freedom of movement they have when relaxed. Your muscles may tire more quickly and get strained, leading co injuries. Before you know it, people will say you're 'banging' loudly in an awkward - playing everything too and tense way. As a result, you may feel you have to make a special physical efforc just to play quierly.

Bue chan can jusr increase the underlying physical tension. So you need to learn how to produce by controlling different levels of volume in a relaxed way, how much of the dead weighc of youe body is released into the keys as you play them. Make sure you're sitting up straight, with relaxed, loose shoulders. Close the piano lid and hold your arms so your hands are some way above the lid, ready to fall and land where the keys would be. Let go complecely so they drop, noticing how hard the impact feels when they hit the lid. Then do it again, bue when your hands reach the lid, keep them resting there for a bit, with the weight still pressing so chat you can feel the lid accually raking when you lean against something.

Remember how that feels. Now open the lid and try the same ching wich each hand in cum, so that you end up holding down a simple chord like the one in Exercise 8. Can you feel the weighc pressing chrough your hands and fingers and into the keys The next ching is to control how much of your own weight chis by thinking of different go of more of the body releases more weight, and working upwards For maximum you release.

We do pares of the body as having their own weight. Exercise 8. Then do the same with the other hand, and hands together. Notice how the wrist plays the role of a support throughout, keeping the hand from collapsing under the weight of the arms. Bur if you want co be creative and compose or improvise your own music, scale theory.

This tells you how differem kinds of scale are you'll need co understand organised, and how they relate co each other, so you can use them to make music for yourself. Traditional chromatic. For example, the classical harmonic minor scale can be written as: 1 2 b3 4 5 b6 7 Within the seven-note all musical cultures major scale is a more basic five-note scale, found in almost across the world.

This is the pentatonic scale.

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Notice how it misses out the 4th and 7th of the major scale: , Because it's found within the major scale, it's known as the major pentatonic. The equivalent minor penraronic uses the same notes, bur starts a minor lower. Note that 4th and 7th degrees of the scale are not omitted, , That's what interpretation music that was written by about how the music was intended to is all about. In Unit 5 we looked at ways of making a melody sound more expressive by subtly Develop your interpretation adjusting Don't just learn the notes first, in the hope of relation to harmony working out an interpreracion and then imposing as we go along, to reflect the structure of the line and its and metre.

We can also use slight adjustments the timing of particular it later on: rhar never sncceeds. Let your interpretacion the dynamics notes or chords, to heighten of tempo, the listener's and of expectations. There are all SOrtS of ways to pm across the mood, feeling or character of a piece, develop gradually as part of the process of mastering the playing, so technique and but expression are coordinated from the outset.

To achieve proper awareness, think abour these issues as you learn the piece: When was the piece written, and what were the conventions for playing that SOrt of music at the time? Don't panic: we'll go into this larer. Who wrote it? Is it song-like, What dramatic or character dance-like, features or contrasts does the piece have? Does or like a conversation or a march? Where does the climax come? How is it resolved? What do you think happens in the srory, and how does it end? Robert Schumann 5 6 was one of the most important composers of the Romantic period, By now you should be getting which lasted from towards the beginning of the imagination.

It takes 19th century to the beginning of che 20rh. He was also a great pianist, writing a lor of fine music for Italian Abbreviation Explanation the instrument. He fell in love with and married forte-piano subito forte subito piano sforzando fp loud, then immediately sf sp sfz suddenly Clara Wieck , the leading piano teacher. The romance between soft loud suddenly soft with a sudden accent Robert and Clara- the leading composer and rhe leading pianist of See the Glossary for more Italian musical terms and their abbreviations. German musical world. He immediately rhrew The Schumann himself back into the water again.

Like several inrerprerative piece 'First Loss' opposite abilities. Like a Romantic poets, philosophers and composers, he lot of Romantic evenrually went mad and ended up iu a mental expressive piece, so we can do a lot with shaping dynamics asylum. Note how Schumann and accompaniment ro form a single sense of melodic shape and motion at all levels.

Although the first note is individually CD: TRACK 28 marked loud fp , this is relative to the overall character of the phrase and not aggressive. Hold it for Precious silence slightly longer, so it has a chance to die down a little. That way it will connect up with Rests are as important as notes. Music isn't just the line. Note the way the left hand then fills out the harmony with ouerlapping notes: about hearing sounds in more incense ways than these produce a sustained texture and echo the falling intervals you would in everyday life - it's also about of the melody.

The learning to hear and appreciate silences. Then the expressive return of the opening can coincide with a slight pulling alterations back of tempo, D-sharps and A-sharps Not fast j 5 j,j. J:l1" U J 25 f'l j,j. Practice each voice with the correct fingering before combining voices slowly within each hand, listening for balance between voices and legato.

Bring out the upper voice where this is part of the principal line. Only then combine the hands, and try to continue listening to the inner parts as well. Notice the tempo changes indicated, and that pedal is only used where a legato would otherwise be impossible. In bar 31, the right hand chords marked with staccato dots and slurs should be neither legato nor staccato.

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Feel the dramatic impact of the rest in bar 30 - silence is an important part of this piece, and it's there even when you don't hear it. For example, they may dovetail together to form a single texture or line, or overlap by playing in the same region of the keyboard at the same time, or cross over to play on opposite sides of the keyboard.

It's always important should move in and Out of these positions: behind, to know exactly how they for example, which hand goes above and or below and in from of, the other. This may be indicated in the music eg, 'l. Non-legato In the next piece you'll see some more places where notes or chords are marked with both staccato dots and slurs. This is called non-legato, chord has some feeling of length, meaning that each note or and a slight gap before the next one: a sort of relaxed staccato that keeps a sense of line and connectedness, like someone speaking rather than singing.

Arpeggiated chords The wavy vertical lines in front of certain chords in the next piece bars 15, 59 and 61 mean that they should be 'spread'. The effect is like strummed or harp textures produced movemem. Spread each note in rapid succession up to the top one, yet still holding as one big spread. Exercise The opening figure consistsof triplets, which must relate accurately to the crotchetpulse stated in the second bar.

The division between staves shows how both hands participate in the line, with the division of bands shown by direction of note stems. First practise the jl. Fingers closeto keys will help here. Then introduce the staccatochordsin the background. Note how each long minim note in the melody continues to be held after the chord, and how pedal is added just to 'colour the held note, without losing the staccato release of the chord.

The nonlegato in bars can be done with light 'dabbing movements from the arm rather than wrist. Bring out top notes in the right hand chords in the middle section, focusing on contrasts of dynamic level. Think about your 'scale'of volume levels- are they consistent throughout the piece? Dovetailing of hands means there's no point in practising them separately: instead, analyse the music into levels melody and accompaniment, foreground and background and practise each level before combining them, Apply this approach to the final section bar 57 ornuards as well.

But bars 67 -9 revert to a normal of the bands, combination 50 they do need to be practised bands separately! Think about Allegro vivace 5 3 j r. LJ 3r:; The runs in bars and should sweep down the piano rhythmically so accent on the first beat of the bar , with a crescendo as they approach the bottom.

After all, these really are meant to be 'avalanches'. For accuracy and of hand movement for the control, keep fingers close to the keys, with a minimum staccato playing. At the same time, note how repetitions of notes between the hands require to control speed while maintaining YOlt a sbarp and precise staccato touch.

Con moto r. Notice the alternating pattern of first in the left hand, then the right, then the left again. If you try to play these passages by themselves ie, hands separately you'll notice how quickly your hand stiffens up and your forearm gets tired and tense, disrupting the evenness problem, of rhythm and rone. We use a special technique ro overcome this called rotation. Forget the piano for a moment. Imagine those door handles that have ro be grasped you're opening and twisted door handle like this in your home, that's even better.

If you've gOt a real Go and try opening it, and observe carefully what your arm and hand do. Now try repeating then the other, so that the arm continually it, first in one turns ro and fro. Now try with the other hand. That should give you an idea of the kind of arm movement need when you play the following of you will exercise.

Accent the first note of each group slightly to maintain rhythmic evenness.

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The left hand plays the same notes, an octave lower. This enabled him to develop gradually as a composer, absorbing local Viennese musical influences over a long period and responding to changing tastes, while emerging as an increasingly mature and inventive composer. His music is characterised by a gentle and good-humoured wit, and by the dramatic use of form to surprise the listener in countless ways. Haydn wrote a huge number of symphonies, string quartets and piano sonatas, many of which are masterpieces. He was influenced by his encounter with Mozart, and his own risk-taking made an impression on Beethoven, who briefly studied with him.

Later in life, Haydn made visits to London, and wrote some of his finest symphonies to be performed there, as well as a number of superb piano trios. Haydn's long career means that his music spans the evolution of the music of the classical period, from baroque and galante origins through to the drama of early Beethoven. His keyboard compositions begin as works for harpsichord and end as full-length sonatas, exploiting expressive range and dynamic possibilities of the piano.

The left plays rather high up at the start, so avoid unnecessa'ry leaning back. Better to lean in the direction of where the right hand is to give space to the left, with feet firmly on the ground, apart and in front, to support the body's need for balance. Rotation also helps you to master independence of hands from the point of view of articulation: right hand must be phrased with couplets and staccatos, lifting off, while left hand stays legato; then the roles are reversed for the middle section, Watch out for left hand octaves in bars keep the wrist loose and relaxed, sinking in on crotchets, and practise with eyes closedto memorise hand shifts.

Haydn had a great sense of humour, so aim for a lively and light-hearted feel. However, large step - a chromatic 6th to sharpened this scale contains interval of an augmented 7th ie, the leading an unusually 2nd see Unit 2 - from flattened note , which makes it unsuitable for melodies, since this is hard to sing. So there is a special version of the scale for melodic lines, which evens out the intervals flattening by raising both the 6th and 7th on the way up and both on the way down.

Hence this melodic minor scale has different in ascending and descending forms, though the fingering is normally the same. Slow them down co stare with. It's time co try playing directions contrary the chromatic motion scale hands together: then in the same direction first in opposite similar motion. Start with one octave, then extend it co a second octave with the same fingering. Note how in contrary between motion we get matching hands when we start on D or A-flat, fingering around which black and white notes form a symmerrical , ar the same time since these are the only two notes pattern.

You may need to glance back at Unit again. You should be able to figure this out for. The more closely playing, you listen, such as inequalities the more you'll of One or rhythm, probably means you're becoming problems is tension, which may be a result of poor practising more self-critical. It can take time of tbe fingers without develop relaxed independence exercises before practising in your own scales, arpeggios forcing them.

Use them or pieces. CO 0 any faults Exercise This is good: it position on the keys. Check that hand, wrist, arm and shoulders are all relaxed with fingers rounded, knuckles level, a problem passage, do you just keep on struggling in vain to play it again etc. Lift one finger, holding it raised well above the key for a few seconds, keeping and again, so that you're actually practising your all the others resting on the keys, and the hand, wrist and forearm relaxed.

Keep on feeling the hand weight pressing down through the finger What do you think are the correct answers to into the resistance of the key-bed, with the hand relaxed and supported from the these questions? A handy trick when learning difficult music is to begin wirh the end of the wrist. Hold the note for a few more seconds, and remember how this feels, with the passage, gradually adding on the earlier bits until hand relaxed and other fingers just sitting on the keys.

This reverses the order in which different parts of the piece come to your attention, helping technical consistency. Concentrate on relaxing for a few more seconds in the playing position , then begin with the nextfinger. As you play each note, think: 'lift - play - relax! Trills are rapid alternations notes: see the section on ornaments, equality later in this unit. Note that there are three elements to be controlled simultaneously: long note with release of hand-weight alternating the finger holding the into the key-bed ; the fingers playing the notes which must be even in tone and time, and perfectly legato ; and the fingers not playing, but sitting on the keys.

In the last case, try closing your eyes and feeling the fingertips just touching the surface of the keys. If you can't control all three elements while staying relaxed, you're playing too quickly, so slow right down. This was the Enlightenment independence decorating when instrumental arias in dramatic the a melodic particularly and early pianos, modern expressions prevalent piano.

In for keyboard all of which Like the had scylised of the spirit of elegance and period, dominated and extravagant feeling for melody in classical music. This greatly influenced by the UNIT 11 Classical ornaments require need good finger control and independence, very rapid notes to be fined sounding forced or awkward. Many ornaments composition Unit into the existing rhythm since they often of the line without Keep the hand relaxed and the fingers correspond to the classical embellishments 6 , which reappear as standard jazz techniques close to the used in melodic for embellishing chord sequences Unit 9.

Ornaments realisarion changed were frequently might indicated be left to the performer. Only the principal using shorthand symbols, The conventions and 18th centuries, whose exact for how this was done and are only imperfectly forms are given here, and you should be aware of them, but the rules are by no means fixed or certain. Grace notes look smaller than usual, and do not affect the way the rhythm other notes relates to the beats of the bar. A single grace note is usually written -- quaver with a diagonal slash, which makes it an acciaccatura or more grace notes are written shorter time-values.

Julius and his lady simply ride the smoke back down into the fire box. Emerging safely, Julius gallantly revives the lady and removes the smoke from her lungs, by flattening her with a rolling pin. A mere four years separate this film from Alice the Fire Fighter, but considerable changes had taken place in those four years. The Fire Fighters illustrates the difference. But in The Fire Fighters Mickey seems aware of his place in cultural history and steps boldly into the shoes of his most illustrious predecessors, tackling with zest the ritual motifs and situations of their films: gags in the firehouse, the race to the burning building, the struggle with the fire hose, and of course the obligatory climactic rescue of the heroine.

Viewed in this context, The Fire Fighters seems almost like an anthology of great firefighting gags—with a twist. Horace Horsecollar, as one of the firemen, hears the alarm and leaps out of bed into his harness and collar, which are suspended from a pulley contraption something like the Arbuckle-Keaton device in The Garage. But The Fire Fighters is not merely a rehash of old ideas. Mickey Mouse, barely two years old at the time of The Fire Fighters, is not an anonymous cipher channeling stock comedy material—a label that might more reasonably be applied to Julius the Cat—but has already developed strong individual character traits and bends that material to his own.

Kaufman purposes. Paradoxically, he joins the company of Chaplin, Keaton, and the other giants by distancing himself from them, establishing his own distinctive identity. For one thing, Mickey in is a proactive character, plucky, resourceful, and usually in command of any situation. Arriving at the scene of the fire, he faces a series of comedy obstacles but overcomes them through what has already become his characteristic blend of luck and ingenuity.

Once at the fire, Disney works a variation on earlier fire-hose gags: here the problem is not the hose but the hydrant, which produces only a thin trickle of water Fig. He never manages to deliver more than a few drops of water, and ultimately the problem is solved by Horace, who drinks a nearby pond dry and then disgorges the water on the burning building! Flames attack the clothesline, the oversized garment falls, and the two mice start to plummet earthward— until the overalls fill with air and balloon into a parachute, and Mickey and Minnie float safely to the ground.

In the restless, constantly evolving creative environment. The Heir Apparent 61 that was the Disney studio in the s, nothing stood still for very long. If Mickey embraced the American comedy tradition during his early years, he had actively abandoned it by the mids. In its place, as he matured, he began to appear in new and different kinds of stories, stories that had little to do with slapstick or sight-gag comedy. These were roles that belonged to the ages, fitting assignments for the mouse who had become the greatest of all cartoon characters—but they hardly suggested the comedy tradition of Chaplin, Keaton, or Lloyd.

Increasingly, comedy content in the Disney films was shunted to a new breed of characters: Donald Duck, Pluto, and an anthropomorphized dog who began life as Dippy Dawg but ultimately evolved into Goofy. Nor did these characters suggest the world of the vaudeville stage or the silent two-reel comedy; instead, their personalities and their gags were increasingly tailored to the new, colorful, richly detailed cartoon environment that was becoming ever more clearly defined in the Disney films.


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  8. And already it was a world very different from the one in which The Fire Fighters had taken place. As if to illustrate all these changes, Mickey returned to the firefighting service in , this time in Technicolor. This time, however, he leads a crew of two; this is one of the first in a new group of cartoons built around Mickey, Donald, and Goofy. Kaufman following each of them through solo comedy scenes, before bringing them all together again for a wrap-up sequence at the end. Mickey does struggle with an out-of-control fire hose, but this time the scene is strikingly unlike earlier hose gags.

    Here the water pressure lifts both Mickey and the hose into the air, and the sequence becomes a showcase for the kind of technical device that was starting to appear in Disney films, an aerial effect in which the camera seems to follow Mickey as he careens madly through space. Nothing could illustrate the gap between this film and its ancestors more clearly than the climactic rescue scene. This time the rescuee is not a fair damsel but a cow: Clarabelle Cow, soaking in a bathtub on an upper floor, noisily engaged in her vocal exercises and unaware of the fire. At the intrusion of Mickey and company she screams and violently fends off their rescue attempt, swinging her long-handled brush at anyone within reach.

    The bathtub is bodily ejected from a window with Clarabelle still inside, the three would-be heroes tumble from the same window, and the film ends with the tub on the ground outdoors, Clarabelle clobbering each of the firemen as, one by one, they surface at the opposite end of the tub. This scene may have its roots in the Chaplin or Lloyd rescues of earlier years, but those roots have been so transformed as to be scarcely recognizable.

    By , then, Mickey Mouse—who might have been considered the heir apparent of the American comedy tradition only a few years before—had left that tradition behind or, at any rate, had retained only such elements of it as could be fundamentally transformed and carried off in an entirely new direction.

    After Mickey, what? In , of course, American comedy was hardly a dead language. Laurel and Hardy, W. But the. The Heir Apparent 63 breeding grounds that had produced these and so many other comedians, vaudeville and the two-reel short, were seriously endangered. Vaudeville, in fact, was already dead by most accounts. The two-reel comedy short would, technically, continue to survive for years at some studios, notably Columbia and RKO, but by the mids the form had become so unprofitable that most comedians were deserting it Laurel and Hardy made their last two-reeler in Of course these are highly subjective judgments, subject to change with the passage of time.

    And what of the animated cartoon? When Mickey Mouse laid down the comedy torch, which other character picked it up? The answer, again, is arguable, but this writer would argue that no other character ever did—at least, not in the same way. Perhaps a case could be made for the cynical, street-smart comedy of the classic Warner Bros. In yet another firefighting Disney cartoon appeared: Fire Chief, starring Donald Duck in the title role, this time with a crew made up of his three nephews. But any resemblance to the classic American comedy tradition ends there; despite this coincidental similarity, Donald never remotely suggests Keaton or any of the other legendary comedians.

    When Donald indulges in a fire-hose gag, for example, it has little to do with earlier hose gags. This time the hose, accidentally tied in a knot, continues to fill with water. Other traditional firefighting gags are made secondary to the dynamic between Donald and his nephews, or omitted altogether, and there is no climactic rescue scene. None of this is intended as a criticism of Fire Chief or of the vintage Disney studio in general. On the contrary, Walt Disney had simply appropriated the element of comedy, combined it with other cultural influences and his own original ideas, and seamlessly absorbed them into a brilliant artistic statement all his own.

    In a sense he reached the apex of his art in with the release of both Pinocchio and Fantasia—two monumental works that remain today the pinnacle of animation art. Other animation producers, notably the Fleischer studio, had experimented with sound cartoons as early as four years before Steamboat Willie. Ben Urish points out that the two scenes differ partly because Semon, not the cat, is the focus of the gag in The Grocery Clerk.

    The Heir Apparent 65 7. See Schelly, Harry Langdon, 88— Essentially, Mack Sennett produced the five-reel His First Flame in while Langdon was still in his employ but withheld it from release until Langdon had appeared in several successful features for First National.

    For those unfamiliar with the Alice Comedies, Julius was a cartoon cat who functioned as a sidekick to the live-action Alice, the little girl who was the nominal heroine of the series. But the two-reel short had provided an ideal environment for sight-gag comedy, an environment that the feature—with its constant pressure to dilute the comedy with dramatic plot elements, musical numbers, and romantic subplots—could rarely duplicate. Big belly laughs. We kids laughed like crazy at cartoons.

    But so did grownups. Movie audiences seem to have been much more exuberant then; if it was funny, we laughed. We cried when appropriate too. I recall my parents sniffling along with the kids when it dawned on us that Wendy unfairly could not fly with Peter Pan back to Neverland just because she was growing up. Was this the origin of our s rage against injustice? Did the models of parenting so strongly presented and so Victorian affect our behavior as parents? I believe that, as my generation did, the young and old moviegoers of earlier days laughed en masse at cartoons.

    I have no way of proving it except to note that theatrical performance historically has involved responsive audiences, and there is no reason to think that classic cartoons were an exception. I want to examine here how the films of the s used the performative signature of infectious laughter to convey meaning. It is obvious when watching them that there was more to the films than just some sort of tickle.

    The filmmakers had multiple audiences in mind from the beginning. Your count may vary and, of course, contents will settle during shipping. Since the films participated in the articulation of the visual culture of their day, meaning was densely and sometimes ambivalently packed. Assumptions about class, race, and gender were silently at work too. How often has it been said that the fuller the theatre, the more uncontrollable the laughter of the audience! How appropriate for Hollywood. Infectious Laughter 71 worries, a harmless diversion from which one can return refreshed to the business of living.

    Unlike irony and satire, it is not designed to attack. Unlike the extravagant creations of folly, it does not present a counterworld. Rather, it is harmless, even innocent. It is intended to evoke pleasure, relaxation, and good will. It enhances rather than disrupts the flow of everyday life. Even the most seemingly escapist productions can have other functions or meaning imputed by users, and those may be constructive, destructive, or neutral.

    Instrumental laughter appears to have been a widespread rhetorical strategy put forward by Hollywood producers, even when most of the time they claimed to shun provocative content. A seldom-seen film that explicitly embraced the power of movies and popular entertainment as a cure was Stand Up and Cheer! Cromwell, our country is gravely passing through a serious crisis. But thanks to ingrained sturdiness, their faith is not in the red. Any people, blessed with a sense of humor, can achieve such a victory. We are endeavoring to pilot the ship past the most treacherous of all rocks—fear.

    The government now proposes to dissolve that rock in a gale of laughter. To that end, it has created a new cabinet office, that of Secretary of Amusement, whose duty it shall be to amuse and entertain the people, to make them forget their troubles. Aunt Jemima. Cromwell does succeed in evading the shoals, and he brings the Depression to an official end with a victory parade.

    Sing hallelujah, sing it loud, because the big bad wolf is gone. The hero is John L. Sullivan Joel McCrea , a Hollywood director who is inspired to make the ultimate social realist genre movie of the early s adapted from a book with the Steinbeckian title O Brother, Where Art Thou? James Sully concluded that satire is a socially tolerable form of derision and ridicule.

    Bantai Kovacs

    Through a series of darkening mishaps, Sullivan ends up serving time on a southern work farm. The epiphanic plot point occurs when Sullivan, now on a chain gang, has been taken to a nearby African American church, where the preacher puts up a sheet and shows a Mickey Mouse cartoon from the s. The congregation convulses with laughter when Pluto steps on some sticky flypaper. We wonder to what extent this attitude was typical among movie viewers of the times. Scant empirical data are available about audience attitudes or opinions about s cartoons.

    Until something better comes along, the best way to get an idea about whether animation humor was innocuous or instrumental is to look at some specimen films. While in principle one could select any year in cartoons for content analysis, I look at the year for two reasons. That was when the effects of the Great Depression were being felt hardest by most people the Gross National Product turned around that year in the United States but not necessarily in other countries. To those ordinary. Against this background Hollywood film humor thrived. And it was the animated apotheosis of Mickey Mouse, the Silly Symphonies, and the rival series of a half-dozen cartoon studios competing with Walt Disney.

    The aggregate crazy laughter produced by all the bizarre plot twists, mindless gags, goofy characters, peppy music, and unbridled optimism during this era in the movies must have seemed manic as well as poignant, considering the unemployment, race riots, strikes, starvation, and general misery outside the theater doors. It is intuitive that the exuberant content and the presumed infectious laughter that comedies elicited from moviegoers was purely escapist, a desirable distraction to facilitate social forgetfulness, and that that was sufficient.

    But a film like Playful Pluto and some other cartoons of the s show the counterintuitive instrumental possibilities of animation. Playful Pluto Disney, is a domestic comedy showing brief vignettes of by-play between Mickey Mouse and his pet, Pluto. The pup is in a playful mood, while head-of-household Mickey is intent on raking leaves. The playful battle escalates until Pluto tears the garden hose and faucet off the house.

    All the flies in the neighborhood invade the kitchen, so Mickey retaliates with sheets of flypaper. Finally, when his rolling disaster spreads to the window shade, Mickey comes to rescue him—only to become stuck on the flypaper himself. Now Pluto removes it from his master and offers to shake. When Mickey extends his hand, Pluto gives him the Shake-Spear. Mickey realizes that turnabout is fair play, and they laugh together.

    Playful Pluto is a parable that teaches the virtues of civility and cooperation in the spirit of other Disney fables, such as The Grasshopper and the Ants or The Flying Mouse. Viewers probably do not laugh because they cruelly like to see animals suffer but because Pluto is anthropomorphized and because they feel superior to mean Mickey. The moments of infectious laughter are early in the film when a horse that Betty Boop has bet on wins the sweepstakes.

    She celebrates by liberating her pets. In a nice gag it appears that she is cruelly chucking the fish out the window. A cut to the outside of her house reveals, though, that a brook babbles by where we expected a sidewalk. Then a fantasy sequence shows Betty addressing some Depression-specific issues. Police officers treat two hoboes in a park to a fine multicourse meal. The Betty Boop milk company uses silenced horses hooves and balloon-assisted quiet delivery. Continuing the food motif, some kids play on an ice-cream mountain.

    Workingmen and women file into department stores with money and file out carrying goods and sporting evening clothes. A decrepit factory comes to life, fills with workers, and then dissolves into tableaux of money changing hands across a map of North America Fig. As in the Sturges film, the personae are of mixed race and gender. As Betty reprises her upbeat theme song, a village grows into a great metropolis before our eyes, complete with its own Chrysler Building.

    It may be that we laugh not only at her solutions but also at their incongruity. The circumstances must not be of a momentous nature: no poor man would laugh or smile on suddenly hearing that a large fortune had been bequeathed to him. The plan she advocates in her song acted out her Keynesian solution, giving workers jobs so they might spend money, which would create jobs, which would put money into the system and would start a cycle of improvement.

    Infectious Laughter 77 Deal. Two Warner Bros. The cartoon uses the song by Harry Warren and Al Dubin with altered lyrics for about the first half. They reprise some of the erotic jokes in the Busby Berkeley production number. Although rubble crashes down around their room, they just hang out the Do Not Disturb sign and carry on Fig. In this film, laughter comes from the erotic antics of the anthropomorphized insects and the consummation-delaying mishaps that they encounter.

    It also derives from the comic tradition of imagining a parallel universe that mirrors our own. The bugtopia now has problems, just like small towns in the nonanimated world. Those Beautiful Dames revived a recurring favorite plot device, the starving child who dreams of bounteous food, toys, and playtime. A ragged girl treks through the snow and pauses to look in the window of a toy store.

    She presses on as the storm rages. Inside her cabin, where apparently she lives alone, there is no fire in the stove. A mouse is starving. As she sleeps, the toys Figure 4. Honeymoon Hotel Schlesinger, Spencer for her. Then the curtains part to reveal a sumptuous banquet. She joins the toys to feast on cake and ice cream Fig. No question, the benign reading of all four of these films is positive and uplifting.

    They promote values of forgiveness, compassion, charity, and goodwill— the kind of feel-good experience celebrated by the fictional Sullivan. Though one has to look for it, the instrumental aspect of these films is much more than laughter for its own sake. Furthermore, Sturges was correct in his application of Tolstoy. The laughing scene, indeed, is a good illustration of the aesthetic theory that Figure 4. Those Beautiful Dames Schlesinger, According to Gary R. His guiding metaphor was probably inspired by the rapid acquisition of knowledge about the origins of contagious diseases toward the end of the nineteenth century, especially the first laboratory isolation of viruses by the Russian scientist Dmitri Iosifovich Ivanovski in Tolstoy defined art according to these premises: artistic activities arise from natural expressions of feeling; they join men [sic] in humanity; and they are communicated as though by aesthetic infection.

    Good art conveyed positive spiritual i. The medium—animation—is part of the message because it redeems individual isolation and existential despair through the unifying power of laughter. Tolstoy was in vogue. His centenary had been celebrated in What Is Art? There were five Hollywood adaptations of his novels in the early s. Most important, cartoons use their tendency to generate infectious laughter to produce art that does not exist in the formal properties of the work, in the artist, or in anything innate in the audience but in the interaction between.

    The former emphasizes the role of the interactivity of performer and audience, while the latter focuses on how reception communities constantly negotiate the uses of a work. Tolstoy wrote that the profoundest works of art communicate by building feverish and contagious excitement: The simplest example: a man laughs, and another man feels merry; he weeps, and the man who hears this weeping feels sad; a man is excited, annoyed, and another looking at him gets into the same state.

    With his movements, the sounds of his voice, a man displays cheerfulness, determination, or, on the contrary, dejection, calm—and this mood is communicated to others. A man suffers, expressing his suffering in moans and convulsions—and this suffering is communicated to others; a man displays his feeling of admiration, awe, fear, respect for certain objects, persons, phenomena—and other people become infected, experience the same feelings of admiration, awe, fear, respect for the same objects, persons or phenomena.

    On this capacity of people to be infected by the feelings of other people, the activity of art is based. Whether Tolstoy could possibly have imagined cartoons is beside the point and rather silly , but it did happen that that branch of film production and its reception seem to have matched pretty well his conception of how art communicates. That Playful Pluto was made with the intention of disinclining bad behavior or reinforcing good seems obvious.

    But even this film is not purely benign. The populist mythos of the agrarian community or the small town pervaded the idealized solutions to the Depression. Infectious Laughter 81 seems comfortable enough, but the Mouse residence is becoming dilapidated, with cracked plaster, patched window shades, and broken panes Fig. The kitchen stove is an old wood-burning model. The dog, like the laborers, had done nothing to deserve entrapment. His victimization by uncontrollable overarching forces is a figure for America. Nostalgia for a pre-Depression Edenic state is implicit, as is an ethical position.

    There is the affirmative reading: Workers and implicitly unions will be part of the recovery plan if they cooperate with management according to NRA terms. Then, there is the undermining reading: The proposed plan is an unworkable pipedream. Although the film is a folly, its humor spotlights several fundamental flaws inherent in the quick-fix solutions of the NRA.

    Where is the seed money coming Figure 4. Playful Pluto Disney, So her welfare scheme is exposed as a gambling long shot. The film shows clearly that Betty herself has not been doing her part. This is consistent with critiques of Keynesian strategies that pointed out that workers tend to use cash to pay back loans, overdue rent, and personal expenses rather than spend it on big-ticket manufactured goods.

    The film was produced when confidence in the New Deal was waning. Employment and purchasing power had increased, but not enough. Another technique, inversion, reverses the roles of humans and animals and real and imagined worlds. The animation camera operators had formed a union in ; the animators began organizing in , an action that would lead to a strike in The infectious laughter that Betty generates signals the gap between policy and reality that the rousing patriotism elided in Footlight Parade and Confidence.

    How could one not experience. Infectious Laughter 83 fleeting optimism? The same music accompanies the images of money changing hands at the finale of When My Ship Comes In. But here the effect is a joke, since the proposition that money spent on nut-vending machines and the like could resuscitate a moribund economy is patently absurd. Possibly more troubling, there is an implicit accusation that the Depression was caused to begin with by the abstemiousness of laborers as consumers. These viewers might have felt accusatory cynicism in the laughter instead of inspiration.

    Although it is benign if we see it as showing how to make it through adversity by laughing and copulating, or by dreaming of dancing toys and feasts, respectively, the films suggest that these activities actually are denials rather than instrumental actions. Unlike the resulting creation of new jobs in the entertainment sector that films like Stand Up and Cheer!

    Obstacles seem to pop up everywhere, from snooping bell staff to a voyeuristic moon that leers through the window at the lovers. While the final image of the bugs bedding happily as their world crumbles around them is funny, it is not an altogether salutary message. This film and Honeymoon Hotel seem to condemn, not encourage, escapism. So while all these cartoons deliver on their expectations of producing an optimistic, even constructive, message about how individuals should feel and act during the Depression, all four are susceptible to negative or dystopian interpre.

    A school of thought typified by Siegfried Kracauer saw the dark side of infectious laughter. Unthinking laughter could become a tool for hidden persuasion and social control. Their infectious laughing paints them contrarily as a mob. Kracauer goes on to make a distinction between farce and satire. Farce produces an easy but pointless laugh, whereas satire has an ideological effect.

    There was controversy about laughter and animation among the intellectuals of the Frankfurt School, with which Kracauer had affinities. He saw Mickey Mouse as a figure of a collective dream or nightmare caused by twentieth-century technology, which had taken control of the state. Then came film and exploded this prison-world with the dynamite of one-tenth seconds, so that now, in the midst of its far-flung ruins and debris, we calmly embark on adventurous travels.

    Much later in life, Adorno had an unsettling experience that revealed the redemptive power of humor. Adorno recalled: Together with many others we were invited to a villa in Malibu, on the coast outside of Los Angeles. While Chaplin stood next to me, one of the guests was taking his leave early.

    Unlike Chaplin, I extended my hand to him a bit absent-mindedly, and, almost instantly, started violently back. The man was one of the lead actors from The Best Years of Our Lives, a film famous shortly after the war; he lost a hand during the war, and in its place bore practicable claws made of iron. When I shook his right hand and felt it return the pressure, I was extremely startled, but sensed immediately that I could not reveal my shock to the injured man at any price. In a split second I transformed my frightened expression into an obliging grimace that must have been far ghastlier.

    All the laughter he brings about is so near to cruelty; solely in such proximity to cruelty does it find its legitimation and its element of the salvational. But there were some similarities to infection theory. The art object is itself void of ethical content, and it is a product of popular expression with varying levels of authenticity. In the presence of art a kind of osmosis takes place between the artist and the receiver, and neither party is in full control of the process.

    Therefore it is highly contested. The meaning is partly rational but mostly emotional, and therefore the effects may be subconscious. Whereas Tolstoy thought that the results of infection tended to be curative, the Frankfurt School tended to see the effects as mixed but mostly negative. Both Sturges following Tolstoy and Kracauer following Benjamin and Adorno raise crucial issues for understanding the Hollywood cartoon of the s.

    Did the form exist as escapism, stimulating belly laughs to distract audiences from their plight as social victims? To express the dynamic another way, did the effects of early sound animation dupe audiences into perceiving the farce of everyday life as normalcy, or were the effects making them aware through parody and satire of their alienation, stuck in the flypaper of the culture industry? And therefore temples, and the images and singing in them, have always been understandable to everyone. Infectious Laughter 87 There is another salient genealogy showing the spiritual side of animated redemption by laughter.

    It plays under the title cards in every release. Repeatedly, the nexus between African American performance and American popular culture has been affirmed. This is especially true of early animation. Both manifested themselves in the experience of singing. It is highly individualistic behavior but extremely infectious to other participants.

    Additionally, since the cartoons brought with them the possibility of multiple readings, if the four cartoons that I have examined are typical of the era, and I think they are, it is reasonable to think that this multivalence was part of the generic expectation. This humor is not without social history, nor is it benign. The Fleischer and Schlesinger studios, conversely, did not appear to be seeking universal moral insight but rather were experiencing with their viewers the current trauma in the country, inducing awareness and, perhaps, guilt.

    In short, the Disney approach that combined comedy and meliorism prescribed ways for people to model their behavior; the other studios pointed out the ironic contrast between the way society was and the way it might be. Audience members brought different expectations and competencies to movie theaters. Individuals may have come for distraction, but that would not preclude them from being discerning consumers, too.

    At the level of the plot, that is, what is presented literally in the film, we find parody, farce, moral assertions, and implied recommendations for behavior. It is the third aspect, which I will call the ideological level, that is the most troublesome. That is where the possibility of. Infectious Laughter 89 unconscious influence or subliminal communication takes place. This has not been proven definitely to exist under laboratory conditions, much less in the raucous worlds of aesthetics and critical theory. Although I cannot answer this third question, I think that a viral theory can at least state that it was not the cartoons autonomously that were affecting viewers, either consciously or unconsciously, but rather something happening between the viewer and the screen.

    The way that cartoon entertainment worked in the s does seem to resemble a Tolstoyan infection in the sense that the films are constructed according to a certain convention, the seven-minute Hollywood cartoon, but they are incomplete performances, in which the audience invests meaning. The filmmakers may invite this investment, or not; viewers will do as they please. Practically, it is difficult to know what is going on in the mass mind. Because of the widespread policy of segregated theaters in the s, blacks and whites likely watched Playful Pluto under racially defined conditions.

    Going back to one of my personal musings, did watching Peter Pan multiple times subconsciously affect my attitudes or behavior when I became a spouse or parent? Anyway, if it were subliminal, it is unprovable. But a common end result—infectious laughter—does not mean common motives or shared understanding; each viewer may be responding to interpretations vastly different from his or her neighboring viewer, while both laugh out loud.

    But this happened at the instant that his identity became one with the laughing audience, showing the tension between the individual and the audience. While Kracauer may be right to suspect that this behavior was instrumental, it need not signify monolithic conformity, but it does need at least a minimal consensus among the audience members to work.

    In our everyday experience at the movies today, our laughter seems more restrained, individual, fragmented, and without the consensus implied in cartoons of the s. The person in the front row may be susceptible to subtle moral suggestions. I just always laugh at stupid pet tricks. For a concise survey of humor theories and their practical application see the introduction to Goldstein, Laughter Out of Place, 1— Theories of comedy specifically in relation to media are woven throughout Jenkins, What Made Pistachio Nuts?

    Export to EasyBib. Export a Text file For BibTex. Note: Always review your references and make any necessary corrections before using. Pay attention to names, capitalization, and dates. The Musical Times. Description: The Musical Times is the oldest continuously-published music journal in the world, founded in Coverage: Vol. Moving Wall: 3 years What is the moving wall? Terms Related to the Moving Wall Fixed walls: Journals with no new volumes being added to the archive.

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