AS - MUSIC1 - OCR - Compairing Musicals - Westside Story - Something's Coming

 The following cards hold information about the key features of different songs out of the musical 'Westside Story' in order to be able to compare them for an OCR - Music AS Level - Essay Question that may ask to compare musicals. In this collection consists

Something's Coming 

Something's Coming - Melody and Motif'

  • Augmented fourth interval: Crucial to the development of the piece.
  • Ostinato, which can be heard in the accompaniment and also driving the melody, "could it be, yes it could. Something's coming", etc- all based around the first notes of 'could it be'.
  • Tony's melody is based around the opening riff in the orchestra. Constrains 2 bar phrases, a triplet and a tritone on; 'soon as it shows', and a long blue note with a crescendo - (flattened 7th in D major)
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Something's Coming - Harmony and Tonality

  • Dmajor: 2 sections in distant key of C major.
  • 2 chromatic notes - sharpened 4th and flattened 7th - again jazzy.
  • Vocal line ends on flattened 7th of D major.
  • Augmented fourth interval, (TRITONE), used a lot e.g. in the opening ostinato accompaniment and, "who knows", bar 8-9.
  • Chords contain added 6ths, 7ths, 9ths, and 11ths.
  • Neapolitan chord (flattened supertonic - E 'flat' major 1st inversion), at bar 95.
  • C major - G major, bi-tonality in bar 98. Bass in C major with other parts in G.
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Something's Coming - Structure

  • Doesn't follow a conventional verse-chorus structure, but has several musical ideas and sections that recur.
  • Intro - Section A - Section B - Section B1 - Section A1 - Outro.
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Somthing's Coming - Rhythms

  • Some sections in fast triple metre, (3/4), and others in fast duple metres (2/4). The accompaniment has an on beat bass part, with off beat chords. Sustained inner parts mainly in minims.
  • Vocal melody often uses short notes which are syncopated.
  • Push rhythms, where the melody is brought forward to start at the very end of the previous bar. (e,g. on the words, would, could).
  • Vocal rhythm in, "Around the corner," has long note lengths and triplets, although the accompaniment is the same as before.
  • Voice has cross rhythms with the accompaniment on, "Whistling down the river"
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Something's Coming - Instrument and Texture

  • Vocal part for tenor voice, with some sections requiring quiet, whispered tone, (builds up excitement).
  • Song accompanied by a large live band
  • Pizzicato strings, clarinets in their lower register, muted brass, piano and drum kit. In the bridge, low bowed strings, sometimes using harmonics and tremolo add a counter-melody.
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Something's Coming - Word Setting

  • The air is humming: descant melody in the first violins imitates a mild breeze, the voice is in the upper register and the notes are held longer than normal, a sort of gliding effect.
  • Could it be - , push rhythm to induce the feeling of excitement.
  • "It may come", downwards motif, offbeat accents and jabs from the orchestra off the main beat
  • "Soon as it shows": Based around the tritone and with a flattened seventh on shows; jazz inspired but also tritone generates feeling of doom.
  • Unresolved flattened seventh on last note sets up the question, "maybe tonight?".
  • "Around the corner" : high G on down the river
  • Voice speech like with straight rhythms of minims and crotchets. Inner parts of the orchestra have chromatic notes, sometimes moving in parallel fourths. Creates a feeling of a suspense, foreboding.
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Something's Coming - Comparisons with.....

When comparing it's a good idea to gather all the main features into one huge list and then see against other pieces that have the same features or completely different!

  • Solo - A chance for the singer to share their thoughts with the audience and announce how they're feeling - Here, excitement.
    • THE COMPLETE OPPOSITE Chicago's Mr Cellophane.
  • Jazz to create excitement - With the tritone of warning
    • Again, complete contrast with Mr. Cellophane as jazz to create a bad, sad atmosphere. An unhappy clown.
  • Word Painting and setting, whatever you want to call it. 
    • A lot again in Mr. Cellophane

So you can pretty much guess that Mr. Cellophane is the soul mate to compare with Somethings Coming, that is, if you want a large juicy essay to write loads on :D 

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