Raymond Scott
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New York pianist Raymond Scott (real name Harry Warnow), born in 1908, never actually composed anything for cartoons, although he became famous for cartoon music when Carl Stallings used his music for his soundtracks. Scott composed quirky tunes with odd time signatures set to a frantic pace, all recorded with his jazz Quintette (actually a sextet), such as Confusion Among a Fleet of Taxicabs Upon Meeting with a Fare (march 1935), The Toy Trumpet (february 1937), which would remain one of his most popular themes, Powerhouse (february 1937), Twilight in Turkey (february 1937), Minuet in Jazz (february 1937), Dinner Music for a Pack of Hungry Cannibals (april 1937), Reckless Night on Board an Ocean Liner (april 1937), Girl with the Light Blue Hair (april 1937), Egyptian Barn Dance (april 1938), The Penguin (december 1937), Happy Farmer (april 1938), In an 18th Century Drawing Room (1939), from Mozart, Tobacco Auctioneer (april 1939), Siberian Sleighride (may 1939), Boy Scout in Switzerland (june 1939), Bumpy Weather (june 1939), New Year's Eve in a Haunted House (july 1939), Peter Tambourine (july 1939). Starting in 1941, Carl Stalling used snippets of Scott's tunes for countless episodes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig. Raymond Scott had already moved on, composing songs for a few Hollywood soundtracks (from 1945 on), the Broadway musical Lute Song (1946), containing Mountain High Valley Low, two ballet scores, Peep Show (1949) and Six Characters in Search of an Author (1949), songs for Alfred Hitchcock's The Trouble With Harry (1956), the album Rock and Roll Symphony (1958), and even a classical piece, Suite for Violin and Piano (1951). In fact, Raymond Scott had already changed business altogether, founding (1946) "Manhattan Research", the world's first electronic music studio, for which he invented several electro-mechanical devices: the "Orchestra Machine" (1946), the "Talking Alarm Clock" (1946), the "Karloff" (1948), a generator of sound-effects (basically, a proto-sampler), "Automatic Scanning Radio" (1950), an "indexing and selector device" (1953) for tape recorders (a proto-sequencer), the "Clavivox" (1956), a keyboard theremin in collaboration with the young Robert Moog, the "Videola" (1957), for synchronizing music and moving pictures, the "Circle Machine" (1958), the "Electronium" (1959), which was a proto-synthesizers, the "Rhythm Synthesizer" (1960) the oddly-named "Bandito the Bongo Artist", which was a proto drum-machine, the "Bassline Generator" (1968), the "Voice Modulator" (1969), the "Melody Maker" (1972). While very active in devising ever more creative ways of composing, he actually composed very little with those devices. The only non-jazz recording he made was the 3-LP electronic album Soothing Sounds for Baby (1962), that he conceived as children's music, but, de facto, a predecessor of both ambient and minimalist music. Manhattan Research Inc (Basta, 2000) collects some of his avantgarde music. Microphone Music (Basta) collects rarities from the 1930s.

Scott died in 1994.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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