defying gravity GCSE

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  • Defying Gravity
    • Context
      • Elphaba vows to oppose the wizard of Oz
      • elphaba is going to go against rules others have set for her- live a life without limits
      • just like defying the law of gravity, elphaba is attempting to rise above her place in life
    • structure
      • various dialogue sections- leitmotifs e.g. unlimited
      • verse chorus structure
        • intro, verse 1, chorus, verse2, chorus, bridge, chorus, varied reprise of intro, verse 3, chorus, coda
    • instruments
      • glinda= soprano
      • elphaba= mezzo- soprano
      • string tremolos to create excitement
      • wide range of percussion
      • tutti for climax, ff
      • anthology is in form of a short score
      • lyrics
        • stabbed chords at start
        • juxtaposition of two tonally unrelated keys (b major/ fmajor) creates unsettling effect b9
        • elphabas realisation that "something has changed within me" is underpinned by sudden key change= d major
        • first seven pitches of song 'over the rainbow' is same as unlimited theme
        • big leaps in unlimited theme reflects elphabas growing confidence
      • large range of dynamics
    • Texture
      • mainly melody dominated homophony
      • monophonic passage to start
      • two main characters sing alternatively or in unison
    • Tonality
      • mainly in D major
      • tonally ambiguous at start- moves chromatically
      • minor key at coda but ends on major chord
    • melody and harmony
      • mainly built in intervals of 4ths and 5ths
      • word setting is syllabic
      • long notes and wide leaps help to illustrate elphabas new-found confidence
      • chromatic descent in opening and stabbed chords
      • circle of fifths in b68-70
      • b88= bitonal to create magical feeling
      • in same way two witches are at odds glinda= dmajor elphaba= dflat major
    • Rhythm and metre
      • syncopation in main title hook
      • driving quaver rhythms= excitement
      • 44 time mostly, heavy percussion used for Rhythmic emphasise


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