Musical Analysis of Tim Burton’s
“The Corpse Bride”
It’s amazing when two minds come together to form one of the most creative and influential duos in the film and art-making world. Combinations of film crew and the director are a make-it or break-it deal. Directors and play-writes create scenery, but composers and music are what make a movie. When the combination is just right, the result is the artistic sights of composer, Danny Elfman and film director and producer, Tim Burton. The like-mindedness of the two artists flow in such a way that the most incredible films are created, such that one could watch them over and over and still see or feel something never noticed before. This powerful duo comes together to create the work The Corpse Bride, released in 2005, it’s a film that tugs at the heart-strings while also creating smiles and sit-down dances from the Jazz musical style. To understand how the musical accompaniment of Tim Burton’s The Corpse Bride flows so flawlessly, you need to take a peek inside the mind of Tim Burton. The alike mindsets of both Tim Burton and composer Danny Elfman combine in filmmaking to create lyrical, symphonic, and esoterically intellectual visual masterpieces.
Born in Burbank California on August 25th, 1958, Tim Burton was a creative college student who attended California Institute of the Arts for animation (Tim Burton Biography, 1). He worked as a Disney animator for less than one year before calling it quits and venturing out for a solo career. He became famous for his talent in creating films, art, and poetry that harness themes of horror and fantasy worlds. His drawings and interest in Roger Corman horror films are what sparked his marvelous creativity and ambition to enter college under an animation major. Burton has created many famous films, among them being Beetlejuice, Batman Returns, The Nightmare Before Christmas and of course, The Corpse Bride (Tim Burton Biography, 1). Before one can understand the idea behind the music and the films, one will need to watch them to harness a true feeling for the pieces and his style of art. Tim Burton’s film making career wouldn’t have the emotional and striking power that he envisions without the musical accompaniment of composer Danny Elfman. Elfman was born to famous novel writer Blossom Eldman in Amarillo, Texas on May 29th, 1953 (Ankeny). Burton and Elfman are a dream pair for filmmaking; it’s impossible to have one without the other. Tim Burton led Danny into the idea of film scoring back in 1985 and has continued their partnership ever since (IMBD). (Filmtracks, 1997). Elfman’s style is more gothic and dark which flows perfectly with Burtons ideas for his films. Use of the piano, violin, and even Jazz themes in this movie give it that musical texture and balance that Tim Burton wanted to achieve. Elfman has also lent his voice for some of the characters in Burton films such as The Nightmare Before Christmas (Filmtracks, 1997). Additionally, he has composed for many films such as Spider-Man, Darkman, Army of Darkness and even for the musical Chicago (Ankenky/Filmtracks,1997).
The Corpse Bride, written and directed by Tim Burton, is a movie based in the late 1800’s in a Victorian village. Main characters, Victora Everglot and Victor Van Dort are about to embark on an arranged marriage set up by their ill-intentioned parents. The Everglot family is forcing their daughter into the blind marriage in order to gain wealth from the Van Dorts. The Van Dort family is forcing their son into the marriage in order to rise to the top of the high society food chain. Minutes after the couple first meet, they must practice their vows for eternal wedded bliss. (IMBD). While taking a walk to practice his vows, he can’t seem to get it right, Victor finds himself in the woods. When he finally recites his vows perfectly out loud, he unintentionally finds himself married to a corpse bride named