'Something's Coming' - All you need to know

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  • Created by: esumner
  • Created on: 29-03-15 13:10


- From the Musical 'West Side Story' 

- Based on 'Romeo and Juliet'

- Set in New York

- Composed in 1957

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Forces and Instrumentation:

- Written for a solo tenor

- Accompanied by a band made up of: Wind, Brass, Percussion and Strings

- The orchestra is small as all of the parts are doubled up

- The strings use harmonics and play tremolo

- The accompaniement uses quiet dynamics, muted trumpets, soft timbres, and pizzicato so the singer is not overpowered

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- Alternates between 3 main themes:

1. Quiet and syncopated opening, tentative mood, tritone between the C in the bass and the F sharp in the vocal line

2. Loud theme, 2/4 metre, lots of accents, declamatory repeated notes, confident mood, first heard in bar 21

3. Lyrical and slow, long sustained notes, legato phrases, rising intervals, optimistic mood, first heard in 73

- The themes are repeated but are altered by changing the words and metre

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Melody and Word Setting:

- Melody is mainly syllabic

- Word painting, where the words are reflected in the music: 'the air is humming', 'who knows? There's something due anyday...' - tentative and questioning with piano dynamics

- Melody features intervals of an augmented 4th (Tritone) and a flattened 7th

- 'It may come cannonballing' are loud, forceful, and accented

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Rhythm, Metre, and Tempo:

- Metre changes between 3/4 and 2/4

- Metre changes, fast tempo, and syncopation maintain feeling of excitement and anticipation

- At the start, the bass line and chords create cross rhythms

- Accompaniement is mainly made of an on-beat bass line with off-beat chords

- Rhythm is often syncopated

- In vocal line a push rhythm is used (melody is ahead of the beat)

- Ostinato is used throughout

- Some triplets

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Harmony and Tonality:

- In D major

- Two contrasting sections, modulated to C major

- Frequent use of sharped 4th and flattened 7th

- Tony's last note is a flattened 7th (C natural), creating dissonance, sounding unfinished

- Harmony is tonal

- Influenced by Jazz

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- Melody dominated homophony

- 3 main ideas in accompaniement:

1. Repeated riff that opens song

2. Short, mainly syncopated chords

3. Fast, oom-pah accompaniement on the long note of 'me'

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Dynamics and Expression:

- Lots of dynamic contrasts

- Opening is tentative and questioning, reflected in pianissimo dynamics

- Crescendo to forte on 'it may come cannonballing down through the sky!'

- Notes are sung 'marcato' (accented)

- Flattened 7th at the end is unexpected and gives the feeling of anticipation

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