Sound in Animation- History and Terry Gilliam

“A truth whispered among animators is that 70% of a show’s impact comes from the sound track.”– Michel Dougherty.

“The right music can help your animation flow, and sound effects can give your work a solid feeling that adds to the illusion of life.”– Mark Simon.

“Sound effects play an important role in conveying action. Music helps express emotion.”– Michael Geisler.

“Animation is a radio play- you add the pictures,” Conánn FitzPatrick.


Sound, as told to us by Mike, would play a huge part in our animation. The sound would demonstrate the actions in the dark, there should be enough in them to tell the story without having the visuals of the character or objects moving.

Our scratch track, from our original animatic, was slightly out of sync, and it was commented that we were one of the only groups with audio- which was great! Although it didn’t match up exactly- it was commented that we could see how we were influences by the track itself.

We decided to have a look into the sound in animation as a whole- to have a look at how the original animators approached it.


Steamboat Willie (1928) was one of the first recorded sound animations- as a test the company broadcast the half finished animation with live sound to audiences, which they loved.

Carl Starling was one of the most iconic names in soundtracks for animation. Working the likes of Disney in the 1920’s, Starling composed the likes of the Skeleton Dance (1928). He even dubbed Mickey Mouse’s voice.

The skeleton dance. (YouTube, 2016).

Sparling then went on to work for animator Ub Iwerks on the Flip the Frog (1930-1933). Before joining Warner Bros. studios.

Flip the Frog- Fiddlesticks (1930).

Under the insightful eye of producer Leon Schlesinger, with the likes of animators such as Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett, Chuck Jones, Tex Avery, and Frank Tashlin, Sparling dubbed over 600 cartoons. Sparling has created some of the most iconic sounds for the company, including “Merrily We Roll Along” for the Merrie Melodies series and “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” for Looney Tunes.


The Merry Go Round Broke Down. (YouTube, 2016).


The Merry Melodies. (YouTube,2016).

When researching originally for our animation, we were heavily inspiredly by Terry Gilliam and the Monty Python sketches.

Terry Gilliams- Dancing Teeth- the dancing of the dentures matches with the music.


The Killer Cars- part of the Flying Circus (1969-1984).

Creating Our Own Sound

Our original feed back stated that it felt too rushed. To properly pace our audio, Cassie and Lorna created the metronome recording. I thought it was very effective as it definitely gave the sense of a climax in the scene.

Lorna was the voice of our lovely character and both her and Cassie worked on the audio together. I really think they did an amazing job on this- you can really picture what is going on without an visual evidence needed.


YouTube. (2016). silly symphony – the skeleton dance 1929 disney short. [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].

YouTube. (2016). “The Merry-Go-Round Broke Down” Through the Years! (Looney Tunes). [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].

YouTube. (2016). Flip The Frog – Fiddlesticks (1930). [online] Available at: [Accessed 23 Apr. 2016].


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