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Something's Coming (1958)
Something's coming is from the musical `West side story' and Leonard Bernstein composed this piece in
1958. Something's Coming is an Aria, it is the third song written in the musical. Bernstein used 30 players
for this song, but players often played more than one instrument, this is known as doubling.
The tonality of the piece is D major and so the mood is happy, the happy, lively mood is also kept
through the allegro tempo that Bernstein used.
The structure of the piece is: intro, A, B, B1, A1 and outro. The three themes that are used are theme A,
theme B and theme C. Theme A's mood is quite tentative, but theme B the mood is more confident with
a loud dynamic (forte). Theme C uses legato notes.
The key techniques that Bernstein used in this piece were he used many cross rhythms and push
rhythms creating the anticipation for the beat. The melody overall is based on a jazz based harmony,
there is use of blue notes to create dissonance. There is an unsettled feel when listening to this piece and
this is due to the use of the triton in the melody line.
The time signature of something's coming moves between ¾ and 2/4. Bernstein has the word setting
mostly syllabic for this piece; this helps keep the feel of the short snappy riffs. Bernstein uses word
painting and this is shown towards the end of the song at the words "the air is humming", the high violins
show the word "humming." The song ends in D Major, but Tony's final note is not the tonic note D it is a
C natural, this helps give the feel that "something's coming"
Electric counterpoint (1987)
Steve Reich composed Electric counter point in 1987, and it is a piece of minimalist music. In this piece
Reich used 10guitars, he used 7 electric, 2 bass guitars and one live guitar. The structure is A, B, Coda.
Each section has a different key signature. In section A the key is in E minor, it modulates to C minor in
section B and then back to E minor in the coda. The E minor key is confirmed through the bass guitar.
At the beginning of the piece there is no clear key, Reich used tonal ambiguity.
To create the melody in this piece, Reich used note addition so each time the melody got repeated a
new note would get added. There was a resultant melody, so once all the different melodies were
playing their parts it created an overall new melody.
The piece used a diatonic harmony and so used notes in the key. Reich created a contrapunctual
texture, as there were many layers involved due to the ostinatos being played and also due to the
syncopated cross rhythms in section A. Many of the rhythms used were looped and to add variation
Reich used metamorphosis and phasing. The phasing helped create the syncopated rhythm. Reich also
used augmentation to give variation between the cross rhythms. In section A there is a canon as the
guitars enter and in the Coda there is also a four bar canon.
There is more than pone time signature in this piece and it is between3/2 and 12/8. I enjoy the piece
due to the fast tempo and the use of different cross rhythms used.