On the Waterfront Notes

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  • Created on: 14-05-13 16:42
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On the Waterfront
Bernstein
Context
Originally a film ­ film score ­ later Bernstein transcribed elements from the film and
created a Symphonic Suite
Composed (original) 1954, On the Waterfront starred Marlon Brando ­ about NY
docklands, deals with corruption ­ edgy quality which music represents
Film won 8 Oscars but not for the film score
This is the only time Bernstein wrote for a film score
50s golden era for the film industries which meant they could employ a full symphony
orchestra ­ uses a fairly standard orchestra
Instruments
Clarinet in Eb - high
Bass clarinet
Alto sax
Piano
Emphasis on the woodwind rather than other instruments. Strings play a lesser role
Percussion ­ tuned drums as well as timpani, so much timpani writing you need two
timpani players to do it properly
Piano ­ tends to be used as an extra percussion instrument, very low register, help
with the rhythm side of things
Starts off with exposed monophonic horn opening ­ high register
Lots of use of mutes ­ big jazz feature
Rim shots on the snare ­ crack to the sound
Piano ­ b.20 ­ soft pedal
B.105 ­ flutter tonguing with long note at the end
Sul pont ­ b.108
B.24 ­ glissando on the timpani ­ pedal timpani
Texture
Unaccompanied solo at the start ­ common tool to use
Two part canon with trumpets and the trombone solo half a bar behind the flutes
Percussion section at b.20 ­ fast and barbaric ­ fugal feel
Saxophone solo ­ jazz influence
B.78 ­ homorhymthic section
Structure
3 sections ­ andante opening (1-20), Presto barbaro (b.20), Adagio ­ coda (b.105)
Opening ­ horn solo ­ minor 3rds dominate ­ triplets another feature
o Two part canon between trumpets and trombone solo
o 13-19 ­ F pedal in Harp, Clarinet play concert F ­ free inversion
Presto Barbaro ­ percussion fugue
o Saxophone solo ­ 2 bar riff
o 2 bar riff in strings ­ b.54
o 62 ­ quieter section ­ based on motif from saxophone solo
Adagio coda ­ saxophone motif first played at b.52 ­ b.62

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Tonality
Opening based on blues pentatonic scale
Gb in b.5 (flattened 6th) ­ bluesy idea
Fugue ­ generally similar ­ blues feel ­ major 3rd (B natural) in G minor scale
B.26 ­ G feel ­ timpani below playing C# and F# - bitonal section
B.72 ­ atonal ­ dissonant feel
Harmony
Dissonant piece generally
Pedal note established early on ­ notes clashing against the F pedal note ­
diminished octave b.…read more

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