Friday, 5 July 2013

Classical music in cartoons: The Simpsons

In the lead up to the weekend, enjoy this post from our partner blog:

Recently, while I was surfing the internet, I came across a blog post featuring classical music in cartoons. I found it very cool and I'd published something similar recently. It made me think. In my post I mentioned that the old cartoons were great, especially for their use of classical music. Upon further consideration, I noticed that some modern cartoons also use classical music. I wondered whether The Simpsons had ever used classical music in an episode. After a short search and consulting a friend, who is a fan of the series, it appears that classical music was indeed used in The Simpsons. This post will feature some funny examples.

Bart Simpson Mozart

There are quite a few examples, either appearing directly or as references, like when Homer whistles "In the Hall of the Mountain King" in an episode of the first season. The music of Beethoven especially is frequently used. A quick Google search will reveal many people asking, "what is the classical music that appears in episode this or that". People listen to classical music on the show, like it, chase, search and learn more about it. First conclusion, classical music is not old fashion. Second conclusion, people like classical music, they just don't necessarily know it, perhaps because this genre suffers prejudice, or because it is perceived as elitist, appealing only to intellectuals.

So let's explore some clips from some episodes, to see what the fuss is all about. Some episodes are very well thought out, like when Bart embodies Mozart as a child. He appears as a "rock star" and asks the public to choose a piece for him to play. Moe appears saying he wants to hear Sonata k 331 third movement then he interprets it, Bart exaggerates and plays it using acrobatics, in a reference to a legend that Mozart could play the piano almost any way, a kind of Jimmy Hendrix of the piano. At the end Homer congratulates Bart for the show, and shows him that he must pay attention because he forgot to advertise the sale of the merchandising!

Also in this episode, Nelson, the famous bully of the series, appears playing Beethoven's 5th symphony, on the piano. In the end he uses his laughter to quote the main theme of the symphony, "ha ha ha haaaaaa".

These are just some of the references that I found. Feel free to comment with other references from cartoons that you love. What do you think?
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