Monday, 23 February 2009

Not quite the first ever use of twelve-tone technique in American music - but almost.

In a talk given in 1944, Scott Bradley described his difficulty in finding an appropriate piece of music for an image both so "grotesque and funny" as the spectacle of a dog's disembodied head apparently walking around on its own, "Finally, I tried the twelve-tone scale and there it was!...I hope Dr. Schoenberg will forgive me for using his system to produce funny music, but even the boys in the orchestra laughed when we recorded it." Three years earlier, in his manifesto, 'Cartoon Music of the Future,' Bradley dreamt of a time beyond click-tracks, when the music is recorded "before a foot of animation is in production," allowing for "free and flexible tempi" and "unlimited variation in composition." He foresaw the need for, "a new type of orchestral tone colour, since sound effects will be contained in the orchestration, and the possibilities will be boundless." In the same manifesto, Bradley imagined a cartoon with images by Salvador Dali set to Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande. Five year later, in 1946, Dali would sign a contract with Disney to produce a film called Destino, based on a song by Armando Dominguez, of which only fifteen to eighteen seconds were made in Dali's lifetime.
[all quotes from Daniel Goldmark's Tunes for Toons]