Creating a film as astonishing as Disney•Pixar’s Coco, a film that is as harmoniously beautiful as it is visually stunning, takes passion. A passion that can only be accomplished with research and a love for the project you are creating. Earlier this we had the opportunity to learn about the passion behind the music of Coco, a film about the celebration of family, music, and joy, from Co-Director/Writer Adrian Molina, composer Michael Giacchino, songwriter and arranger Germaine Franco, music consultant and artist Camilo Lara, and guitarist Federico Ramos.
See also: Coco: A Love Letter to Mexico, History of Dia de los Muertos in Mexico + 7 Fun Facts About Disney•Pixar’s Coco, History of Alebrijes – Meet Pepita from Disney•Pixar’s Coco, Disney Pixar Coco Press Conference – Celebrating Mexican Culture, Ultimate List of Must-Have Coco Toys This Holiday Season
Learn more about the music of Disney•Pixar's Coco and how the sounds of Mexico bring a whole new level of life to the big screen! Catch the film in theatres in 3D now: bit.ly/CocoTix
The Passion Behind the Music of Coco
Pixar is always vested in telling the best story there is. With Coco, in particular, the film is about a kid, Miguel, who is an aspiring musician passionate about music. He has such a talent and desire to play music that Pixar wanted music to be crucial to the storytelling, especially since Miguel has to hide his passion from his family who has banned music after a generation-long grudge.
To do this, Pixar storytellers began early on, much earlier than any other films, talking about what the music would be like and how they would incorporate it into the storytelling. With this, they discovered they needed to use music in three specific ways: source music, the music you hear throughout the town featuring the diverse sounds of Mexico; score, to hold up the emotions of the film and play the themes of the characters; original songs created especially for this film, giving the characters who are performing an iconic voice.
The recording sessions were heaven for me. We had 15 musicians and every three to six hours a new group would come in and you'd hear all the different sounds, traditional songs, and original scores. – Camilo Lara
As the artists were recording, storytellers looked deep into the sounds of the music to find the character of the songs and find the moments in the film where the sounds can really lend a feel to the scene. And, since all the characters in the film are playing music, animators would be remiss if they didn't incorporate music into the animation.
To incorporate music into the animation, cameras recorded the performances to capture the motions of the live musicians playing. Animators then took that footage to replicate the movement to create a direct relationship with the sound you hear to the animation you see on screen.
It was a fantastic celebration of different musicians. – Germaine Franco
Ernesto de la Cruz’s whimsical Mexican-inspired guitar featured in Disney•Pixar's COCO needed to be as iconic as the music. To create a guitar as unique as this story, Disney•Pixar turned to German Vazquez Rubio, a Los Angeles master guitar maker.
For its design, we were inspired by the inlaid designs of 19th-century Mexican guitars we saw in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of N.Y. – Harley Jessup, Production Designer
Below, you can see the replica of Ernesto de la Cruz's guitar, with skull and 24k gold detailing and hand-carved tuning pegs.
Disney•Pixar's Coco is now playing in theaters everywhere!
About Disney•Pixar's COCO
Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel's family history.
Portions of this material for the passion behind the music of Coco article have been provided courtesy of Walt Disney Studios.