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‘Bluey’ Is About All the pieces, Especially Music


“I didn’t want the standard kids’ TV scoring,” he continued. “Some shows just use one track for a whole season, or a variation of it. I’d worked on ‘Charlie and Lola’ years ago, they usually had a couple of musicians who played multiple instruments, and each episode had its own rating. In order that was the norm for me; it’s definitely not the norm for plenty of shows.”

The music of “Bluey” is a collaborative endeavor, nevertheless it is primarily the duty of its composer, Joff Bush. Bush, 37, switched from jazz piano to composition as a student on the Queensland Conservatorium, and he later attended the Australian Film Television and Radio School. He leads weekly, hourslong Wednesday sessions, at which Brumm and others talk through the philosophy and the psychology of an episode while he improvises on the piano, before later writing a rating. It’s work that Brumm is so pleased with that he has given Bush his own character in tribute, a musician called Busker.

Removed from every episode of “Bluey” uses classical music, and Bush’s tastes are eclectic. A few of its greater than 100 shows take inspiration from folk, jazz or rock, and just about all of them are then filtered through what Brumm calls the distinctively “jangly” sound that comes from Bush’s collection of old guitars and his habit of ignoring his mistakes. Even when Bush does color with the classical canon, there’s a charmingly offbeat oddness to his work, something that helpfully reminds you that no real family could possibly be as agreeable, as forgiving or as functional because the Heelers, nonetheless much your kids might reason otherwise.

“There’s a humanness to it, I hope,” Bush said.

THERE IS A LONG HISTORY entwining classical music with animation, one which dates back well beyond Elmer Fudd singing “Kill the Wabbit!” to strains of Wagner in “What’s Opera, Doc?” “If cartoons have change into associated over time with anyone musical genre, it’s classical music,” the musicologist Daniel Goldmark writes in his book “Tunes for ’Toons: Music and the Hollywood Cartoon.”

However the Warner Bros. cartoons from the Thirties to the ’50s used classical music as an “countless source of jokes on the expense of concert hall culture,” Goldmark writes. When concert music and opera were more distinguished than they are actually, many viewers had certain expectations about Romantic-era music — Wagner most of all — that might easily be subverted, and puncturing its pretensions with a cartoon rabbit was anyway inherently funny.

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