Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Nodame Cantabile

I’ve always been quite amused at how there is an anime series for almost any subject out there, whether you like cooking, vampires, cars or tennis. With the plethora of subject matter available, there had to be one on classical music made one day. The latest anime I’ve found and recently finished watching is called Nodame Cantabile, a very enjoyable shoujo about a nutty but gifted piano student called Nodame, who falls for the supremely talented but arrogant Chiaki
(he plays the piano! He’s a whiz at the violin! He dreams of being a conductor! He can cook fancy French food! He speaks German! He cleans!).

While the anime really is all about a girl and a boy falling in love, I like to think that it’s also a lot about the music. Anything that describes Mozart’s music with the words “pink-coloured aura of love” gets a big thumbs-up in my book. But aside from the crazy humour and laugh out loud gags, I loved this series because it brought back a love for classical music, playing snippets of some beautiful piano sonatas, violin sonatas and symphonies within the series, like Mozart’s Two Pianos sonata, Beethoven’s Spring sonata for violin, Elgar’s violin sonata and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 7. Also, having played in an orchestra during my schooldays, it brought back pleasant memories of playing in a large group, and digging down and becoming familiar with the nuances of a piece of music.

Even if it’s just a cartoon, I was very impressed at the level of detail which went into animating this series. Take this little still as an example:

I love that the animators drew in the shoulder rest many people use when playing the violin, and even included the little fine tuner for the e string, which lots of violinists have. (It’s on the e string because it’s the thinnest of the strings, and hence more prone to bursting when you tune it with the pegbox)

One of my peeves when watching shows which feature people playing the piano and violin is that the producers never make any effort at ensuring the actors at least look like they are proficient at playing the instrument. Invariably, the pianist’s fingers won’t match the soundtrack being played, or the prodigy violinist can’t even hold a violin properly and has some really funky bowing technique.

Anyhoo, if you want to watch it online, you can do so at crunchyroll.

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