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Curtis, S. (1992). The sound of the early Warner Bros. cartoons. In R. Altman (Ed.), Sound Theory Sound Practice (pp. 191–203). New York: Routledge. 
Added by: sirfragalot (1/30/06, 7:02 AM)   Last edited by: sirfragalot (2/13/20, 1:23 PM)
Resource type: Book Article
BibTeX citation key: Curtis1992
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Categories: Film Music/Sound, History, Semiology
Keywords: Cartoons, Diegetic/non-diegetic, Film sound, Iconography, Indexicality, Sound objects
Creators: Altman, Curtis
Publisher: Routledge (New York)
Collection: Sound Theory Sound Practice
Resources citing this (Bibliography: WIKINDX Master Bibliography)
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Fascinating article that explores the economics, technology and art in early Warner Bros. cartoons. Issues of semiotics are dealt with - indexical and iconic sound.
p.201   In terms of film [sound], Curtiss defines the term 'diegetic' as "that which is accessible to the characters of a film".   Added by: sirfragalot
Keywords:   Diegetic/non-diegetic
p.202   Rather than use diegetic/non-diegetic, Scott uses isomorphic and iconic for music/effects in cartoons -- the former particularly in cartoons which have been animated to a pre-determined musical beat (hence difficulties with former terminology). "If isomorphic relations refer to those governed by rhythm and movement, then iconic relations pertain to analogous relationships between visual events and the timbre, volume, pitch and tone of the accompanying sound."

Here, 'isomorphism' means same-shape whereas 'iconic' is used in a semiotic sense (C.S. Peirce) -- as an anology between the sound and the object.   Added by: sirfragalot
p.202   Live-action films tend to use indexical sound where there is a direct, causal relationship between the sign and the signifier, the sound and the object. Cartoons only use iconic sound "... indexicality is impossible in a cartoon."   Added by: sirfragalot
p.195   Talking of early Looney Tunes production technique: although much of the music was composed and dubbed on after the animation, a musical beat was usually decided upon before artwork began. A reversal of the usual (film production) sound/image hierarchy.   Added by: sirfragalot
pp.196-200   Although distinctions (certainly in practice) are clear between dialogue/music/effects in feature films, the distinction is less clear in animations (particularly early cartoons) and sometimes not there at all.

This is particularly noticeable where the music is used for sound effects (he discusses this later as isomorphic and iconic sound) as played by the orchestra. Although owing a debt to the musical accompaniment of silent film, this was often a function of the difficulties in post-production mixing (loss of music quality) or of using a single microphone to record all sound simultaneously. By 1933, technological advances enabled dialogue and music (+ FX) to be recorded separately and mixed/dubbed later (hence cartoons of this period now have (clear) dialogue over the music.   Added by: sirfragalot
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