When was the last time you thought about how Disney used music to reflect the broad cultural spectrum of their filmic canon? Or how they manage to translate their songs into the huge number of languages that their films screen in all around the world?  This nifty video essay from YouTube channel Sideways is a wonderful look at how Disney’s depiction of cultures by way of music has evolved throughout the history of the company.

How complicated is the issue? Well, imagine how different the Happy Birthday song would be if we stressed all the wrong syllables (“hapPY birthDAY TO you as opposed to HAPpy BIRTHday to YOU”). Different languages stress different syllables, making translating music an incredible challenge. Or consider the cultural expression that is integral to so many different Disney movies, which focus on cultures ranging from Native America, the Middle East, India, Scandinavia, and heaps more.

It gets even more complicated. Did you know that in the movie Brother Bear, Disney uses music inspired by Bulgarian Choir music that has absolutely nothing to do with the Inuit culture that Brother Bear focuses on? Or think about Aladdin. How many musical numbers in that film really reflect the Arabian setting (we know, we know, “Arabian Nights” is the exception, but what about “A Whole New World” or ” One Jump Ahead” screams the Middle East?).

Anyway, don’t take our word for it, because we didn’t make the video essay. Sideways did. Take Sideways’ word for it.