Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Schulz's Beethoven

On Beethoven in Peanuts:

"If you don't read music and you can't identify the music in the strips, then you lose out on some of the meaning," said William Meredith, the director of the Ira F. Brilliant Center for Beethoven Studies at San Jose State University, who has studied hundreds of Beethoven-themed Peanuts strips.

When Schroeder pounded on his piano, his eyes clenched in a trance, the notes floating above his head were no random ink spots dropped into the key of G. Schulz carefully chose each snatch of music he drew and transcribed the notes from the score. More than an illustration, the music was a soundtrack to the strip, introducing the characters' state of emotion, prompting one of them to ask a question or punctuating an interaction.

Listening to Schroeder: Peanuts Scholars Find Messages in Cartoon's Scores (New York Times)

comments: 5

Benjo said...

Pretty neat stuff. As a side note, the Ira F. Brilliant Center is the home of the "Guevara Lock," a lock of Beethoven's hair that's been preserved since his death. Brilliant paid $7300 for it in the '90s, which made me wonder if he was the inspiration for the greatest South Park episode.

Michael Leddy said...

There's a book about that lock by Russell Martin, Beethoven's Hair.

Folks, that's a South Park plot summary in the link, so follow at your own risk. : )

Macon D said...

Ha--I came over to tell you about the article, not surprised that you're already all over it. Peanuts rocks, eh?

PS--so does South Park. So thanks for the spoiler alert.

Speaking of kids' stuff, how about Horatio Alger's Ragged Dick updated for the new millenium? Actually, it's info we might all be able to use, all too soon.

Michael Leddy said...

What an enterprising young man! But an Alger hero would never throw it away on the zoo (or a girlfriend!).

macon d said...

Right, definitely not a girlfriend. I saw what you did there! you must be knowin about that old Alger and his apparent proclivities and such.

And then: is it really throwing it away on the zoo if you get to touch the lemur?