Please note: if an earlier link doesn't work, it may have changed following an update! Check the Category Labels in the side-bar on the right! There you can find animator drafts for sixteen complete Disney features and eighty-six shorts,
as well as Action Analysis Classes and many other vintage animation documents!

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Albert Malotte on Music

Albert Hay Malotte (1895-1964) was composer at Walt Disney's Hyperion Avenue studios from 1935 to 1939. He wrote the music for Alpine Climbers, Little Hiawatha, Ferdinand the Bull and The Ugly Duckling, yet he is best known as the composer of the most popular musical setting of The Lord's Prayer in the English language, 1935.

These are his lecture notes on "The Relation of Music to Animation" from 1937 (a copy that once belonged to animator Bob Youngquist).
Though this usage of music today is considered old-fashioned, to me that is more out of ignorance than anything else.
In my experience, the best directors have musical backgrounds, or at least can read music and have a sense of rhythm. Personally, I had never more fun than directing and editing musical stuff.
(Note that Al(bert) Malotte obviously is NOT Al(fred) Milotte, the True-Life Adventures cameraman...)

[Added later: If this kind of thing interests you, check out these Category Labels: Barsheets (about barsheets) and Beatronome (a little PC aid to animation timing that I wrote in 2006). At the first label you will find a comprehensive description on how to read the original bar sheets (with several original examples), as well as four complete classic Disney short films with their original barsheets deployed as visual and audible aids for better understanding.

That said, above document from Al Malotte was to my knowledge the first correct description of the musical timing, as originally invented by the Disney studio for Steamboat Willie, to be found on the web. Carl Stalling took the method with him to Harman-Ising when he left Disney in January 1930, but they made the mistake of pre-recording the music track before animation was done, thus locking themselves to the pre-established beat. At Disney, the barsheets could be changed if the animation called for it. Then, when all animation was done, the musician would finalize his score.]

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Anonymous David N says...


These wonderful notes and the scene drafts you are publishing are GOLD ! Thank you for sharing these from your collection.

Thursday, May 25, 2006 at 6:57:00 PM PDT  
Anonymous warren says...


You are right, Hans - most directors ignore this quality in their work these days.

In my meager 9 years of trying to draw - the ONLY directors I've personally seen use metronomic timing in the building their films are John Kricfalusi and Robin Budd.

Personally I think it adds a valuable rhythm to the timing that can't be ignored. But it is - by accident I presume, because who wants to make crap?

Tuesday, June 6, 2006 at 9:01:00 AM PDT  
Anonymous rosscompose says...

Malotte's best score is probably for the Silly Symphony The Moth and the Flame (1938). His animation music always seems sort of florid to the point of busy to me, but I don't dislike it.

Anxious to read his comments. (So much here it's overwhelming, in a good way).

The character animation here sort of reminds me of Fleischer.Great special efx.

Monday, August 24, 2015 at 9:45:00 PM PDT  

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