Friday, February 5, 2010

Classical Music Helped or Harmed?

On Minnesota Public Radio the other day, the announcer said he thought that Looney Tunes had permanently damaged classical music pieces. It was his opinion that one could no longer hear something like "Figaro, figaro, figaro" without seeing the cartoon in their head. Tom and Jerry, Bugs Bunny and company are the bad guys that tainted amazing works of art, simplifying and "dumbing them down". This is certainly one way to think about it. And I DO see the cartoons in my head. I confess. I do, I see them.

I also know that my children, my husband and my friends love the old cartoons and their music. They and I laugh and sing along, learning beautiful melodies I might have never heard without those pajama-d Saturday mornings. It's not just cartoons. Who can hear the William Tell Overture and not think of the Lone Ranger? I guess what I'm hoping for is less high-brow and more education. I think the announcer probably has the attitude of pianist Tom at the beginning of this video.

I wonder aloud sometimes about the fate of our classical music, in the hands of its worshippers.

(Tom plays Hungarian Rhapsody no.2 by Franz Liszt, Jerry plays "On the Atchison, Topeka, and the Santa Fe" made famous by Judy Garland)


  1. I agree with you wholeheartedly--as a diehard lover of Looney Tunes & a music lover. The video is great!

  2. I'll never forget Bugs Bunny and the Ring Cycle of Wagner! Great stuff. Thankful that some great classicals are made universal by their use in these great cartoons.

  3. I agree with Q88keys, great music has been enjoyed by many, many people who might not ordinarily have been introduced to it because of such usage.

  4. Ronda speaks for me, as usual. Those old cartoons had fabulous musical scores, whether I recognized what was being played or not.

    Chris you are a Hare in the Chinese horoscope. You were born before Chinese lunar new year which in 1964 was February 12.

    One mystery solved!


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