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date: 18 January 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article appears in the Oxford Handbook of New Audiovisual Aesthetics edited by John Richardson, Claudia Gorbman, and Carol Vernallis. Of the many ways in which the animation production company Pixar differentiated itself from the classic animated shorts and films produced by Disney, the complete shunning of the Disney musical archetype may be the most pronounced. Pixar replaced the musical numbers and dance sequences with montages and flashbacks, scored with either original music or preexisting songs, furthering Pixar’s near-obsession with nostalgia and resurrection of the distant past. Combining unusually nuanced attention to the soundtrack with a longing for bygone popular culture, the Pixar films show a new stage of development for animated films, taking on the stereotype that Hollywood cartoons are for kids. This chapter explores Pixar’s approach to music and the soundtrack to show how advances in sound design, as well as an evolving approach to film scoring taken by veteran Hollywood composers, have brought a new level of complexity and even respectability to the long-maligned animated feature.

Keywords: animation, soundtrack, Pixar, Disney, musical, nostalgia, Hollywood, sound design, film scoring

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