Tom & Jerry Live Scoring

To my orchestration students, I stumbled upon this really cool video. It’s a live performance of the music used in old Tom and Jerry cartoons. In relation to our current lesson in Brasses (and subsequent lessons in Woodwinds and Percussion), there are a lot of articulation here in use that are hard to describe in class without examples. Let’s get on with the observations:
– music starts off big and comedic. then at about 0:31, changes into a smaller comedic orchestration
– from 0:31, notice the really quick, short, and energetic melody presented by strings. this helps in the presentation of the hyper-active cat-and-mouse scenes.
– notice when the solo violin comes in at 0:51, the orchestration of the other material (harmonic and counterpoint) thins out to let the solo violin project more (solo violin is doubled with flute at 1:02).
– 0:57 comes the trumpets using mutes. i can’t really tell though if they’re using straight mutes or harmon mutes.
– 1:15 in this orchestration, the addition of the sax section (usually 2 altos, 2 tenors, 1 baritone, but in this case its 3 altos and 1 baritone). this gives the music that jazz-y feel along with the addition of the drum set.
– at 1:32, a solo muted trumpet comes in off-camera.
– 1:47 here you see trumpets using the plunger to get that “wah-wah” effect.
– 2:00 here you’ll see a trombone glissando using the slide.
– 2:14 one of the many “weird” percussion instruments you’ll encounter: trashcan and plates/pans.
– 2:21 another weird percussion instrument. the “screaming man”.. hehe
– 2:29 perfect example of a quirky melodic line in the strings doubled by the marimba to add to that comic effect.
– 2:45 trombone solo counterpoint with slide glissandi
– 2:48 off camera, you’ll hear the brasses do a flutter tongue effect.
– 3:03 trombone using a harmon mute and using his hand for a “wah-wah” effect.
– 3:30 you guys just imagine the scene that needs that kind of percussion.
– 4:55 yes, a gunshot can be used as a percussion instrument (just like one of, i think, mozart’s pieces that requires for a cannon to be shot).

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