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Rosenmund, William D (2015) EVOLVING FANTASIA: LISTENING FOR FUN AND EDUCATION IN WALT DISNEY'S DYNAMIC COMMODITY. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Since its first theatrical release in 1940, Disney's Fantasia has become an autonomous brand under the stewardship of the Walt Disney Company. Through the seventy-five years of its history, Fantasia has spawned multiple re-releases in both the domestic and public sphere, as well as a sequel film, video game, and series of live performances. Despite its persistent cultural relevance, music scholars have snubbed the film for its commercial underpinnings, while celebrating its technological advances. This thesis invites readers to consider the relationship between aesthetic and commercial values by investigating the film as a site of intersection for entertainment, education, and capitalism
This project takes a three-part approach to consider Fantasia’s pedagogical value, economic stance, and reception history. I use Michel Chion’s theory of audio-viewing to describe the film’s modes of listening. Using the critical theory of media spectacle by Douglas Kellner, the philosophy of musical museums proffered by Lydia Goehr and J. Peter Burkholder, and drawing on Mark Clague's historical contextualization of the film, I describe how Fantasia can be understood as a commodity with value beyond the profits it garnered for the Walt Disney Company. As such, the Fantasia project, through its various iterations, has the potential to be used as a teaching tool for its accessible presentation of canonical art music works that engages audiences through fun and entertaining mechanisms. Changes to the marketing and reception of the Fantasia franchise writ large also track with broader cultural changes in attitudes toward western classical music and audience engagement. These elements attest to Fantasia’s dual existence as both a populist commodity and a pedagogical text.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Rosenmund, William Dwdr6@pitt.eduWDR6
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNisnevich, Annaann28@pitt.eduANN28
Committee MemberMundy, Rachelrmm109@pitt.eduRMM109
Committee MemberZazulia, Emilyecz6@pitt.eduECZ6
Date: 1 June 2015
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 10 April 2015
Approval Date: 1 June 2015
Submission Date: 16 April 2015
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 52
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: MA - Master of Arts
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Disney, Fantasia, Cultural history, cultural criticism, education, dynamic commodity
Date Deposited: 01 Jun 2015 18:27
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:27


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