Norman McLaren and Grant Munro use three different animation techniques to provide visual representations of canons in a film designed to teach viewers about this ancient musical form. The soundtrack combines both recorded classical music and sounds produced by a synthesizer.
The NFB's 13th Oscar®-nominated film.
In this short film, a chair, animated by Evelyn Lambart, refuses to be sat upon, forcing a young man to perform a sort of dance with the chair. The musical accompaniment is by Ravi Shankar and Chatur Lal. This virtuoso film is the result of a collaboration between Norman McLaren and Claude Jutra.
This animated short by Norman McLaren features synchronization of image and sound in the truest sense of the word. To make this film, McLaren employed novel optical techniques to compose the piano rhythms of the sound track, which he then moved, in multicolor, onto the picture area of the screen so that, in effect, you see what you hear.
This animated short by Norman McLaren and René Jodoin is a play on motion set against a background of multi-hued sky. Spheres of translucent pearl float weightlessly in the unlimited panorama of the sky, grouping, regrouping or colliding like the stylized burst of some atomic chain reaction. The dance is set to the musical cadences of Bach, played by pianist Glenn Gould.
Norman McLaren explains how he makes synthetic sound on film. With an oscilloscope he first demonstrates what familiar sounds look like on the screen; next, how sound shapes up on a film's sound track; and then what synthetic sounds sound like when drawn directly on film. This technique is also demonstrated in Dots and Loops.
In this animation film, Norman McLaren imparts unusual activity to an old French-Canadian nonsense song. Simple white cut-outs on pastel backgrounds, many by Evelyn Lambart, provide lively illustrations. The folksong "Mon Merle" is sung in French by the Trio Lyrique of Montreal.
This animated short co-animated by René Jodoin and Norman McLaren was produced for inclusion in the Let's All Sing Together sing-along series. It illustrates the popular song Alouette, gentille alouette. The technique used is single-frame animation of paper cutouts.
This short animation is a dizzying celebration of sound, colour and movement. Here, multitudes of CMYK symbols, pulled off flaps of cereal boxes and other common printed materials, have been isolated and assembled. Freed from their workaday origins, these objects become moving artwork. Coloured dots pulsate, crosshairs roll and primary shapes dance. The result: an unrestrained riot of colour and energy.
In this extraordinary short animation, Evelyn Lambart and Norman McLaren painted colours, shapes, and transformations directly on to their filmstrip. The result is a vivid interpretation, in fluid lines and colour, of jazz music played by the Oscar Peterson Trio.
Ages 6 to 15
Study Guide - Guide 1
Arts Education - Dance
Arts Education - Music
Arts Education - Visual Arts
For younger students, teach and play hand games as in the film to reinforce concept of turn-taking in music. Perform a dance/create artwork using repetition. For older students, pre-teach concepts of form, register, tempo, timbre; have them identify these during the film. Identify composers or other artists who use canon, counterpoint, fugue, inversion, etc. in their work. Have advanced students produce acoustic/electronic pieces using one of these devices.