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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Music

First Advisor

Joshua S. Duchan

Abstract

This thesis examines the creation of Looney Tunes cartoons and how the powerful pairing of music and animation created a convincing reality and escape for audiences. Looney Tunes was created in 1933 by Warner Brothers animation under the stipulation that one song from a Warner Brothers feature film was used in each short. In 1936 the company hired composer Carl Stalling, who worked closely with the animation directors, progressively learning how to better pair music and animation. Stalling often used familiar popular, classical, and folk melodies within his compositions. An analysis of the Looney Tunes short “Speaking of the Weather” (1937), shows how Stalling wove these different genres of music together. An analysis of the short “There They Go-Go-Go” (1956), shows how Stalling’s composition style and coordination with animation developed. This analysis demonstrates how Stalling’s compositions are built out of repeated memorable motives, coordinated with specific actions in the animation. Drawing on theories from film and media psychology, these analyses demonstrate how Looney Tunes created a psychological escape for audiences.

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