Classical music in motion

Everyone has a reason for getting into a series, even if it can’t be articulated. For me, with respect to Nodame Cantabile, it was association. The conversation, if translated from the firings of neurons, probably went like this:

  • “Dude, it’s a series about music. You’re a band nerd, this is right up your alley.”
  • “I dunno man, you know that a band is not an orchestra.”
  • “Oh hey, there’s a pianist involved. You (used to) know a thing (just one) about playing the piano. Give it a shot.”
  • “… fine.”

Unvoiced (ha ha) was the expectation that music could be well integrated into the story, in much the same way that SCIENCE(!) was decently integrated into at least the first half of Moyashimon.

Despite being a very good series, this integration is one aspect that is lacking. Certainly there is no shortage of hysteria concerning the performance of music, but the kind of impact it has on the story is purely psychological which…is to be expected. As for the music itself, the story takes a temporary backseat when it appears. People play it, some grown adults get all sparkly, some even have their lives forever altered, the music stops, and the story resumes.

I just realized today that I was half-expecting moving pictures to make classical music cool. I forgot to account for the fact that somewhere along the line, there’s supposed to be a continuing plot.

This realization came about as I was reliving childhood memories, namely The Cat Concerto and Rabbit Rhapsody. Amid the hilarity, there is a lot of mechanical complexity being animated. Fingers press keys, keys move hammers, hammers strike strings and occasionally a mouse. It looks just as hard it sounds, but to young children that means cool and awesome.

Even though it was before my time, I’d also include Disney’s LOL asbestos in with the above two, having (probably) been the first instance of an animated performance of Liszt’s Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2.

Seeing all this, I wonder what kind of case is to be made for rendering instrumental performance in CG.

Back on track, I guess you could say that in something like Nodame and La Corda d’Oro, the music is purely incidental, the kind that gets played during breaks in the story, which is ironic given that few (any?) of the pieces showcased are incidental at all.

In the absence of performance antics, the best kind of integration would be a journey through “Music Space,” another world where the progression of a piece is interpreted as a vision. I guess that’s entering Fantasia 1940/2000 territory and thus wholly uneconomical, but know that what we have now is merely a sideshow and an excuse to fill running time.

Cursory research:

The Cat Concerto and Rhapsody Rabbit have been mired in controversy, the charge being plagiarism. Reading this plausible explanation, I agree that RR is better played, but my own vote goes to TCC because I like the dramatic opening, the wicked single octave close, and the fact that there are less brazen interruptions.


I wanted to dig up a video of the Minute Waltz Mouse. The performance in Hyde and Hare never clicked with me, but I was absolutely enthralled by the shy mouse with glasses who got a shot at Carnegie Hall (I think). And when I finally began to play the Minute Waltz myself, I couldn’t stop thinking, “This is too awesome.” Never got close to Carnegie Hall myself, but the waltz was a blast.

Ninja edit: It’s Pizzicato Pussycat, and includes a snippet of Liebesträume, and the Minute Waltz is jazzed up, which makes it even better. How jazz entered in because the sheet music was upside down, though, is an open question.