Musical Analysis; Comparing 'Tonight' with 'Maria'; West Side Story.

903 Words Apr 29th, 2010 4 Pages
Comparing Tonight with Maria (Both from ‘West side story’) (Tonight also known as balcony scene – Tony and Maria sing together. Maria – sang by Tony.) The piece ‘Tonight’ begins in B maj; it opens with Tony stating “the most beautiful sound I ever heard” this is sang in a very recitative style; mainly monotone (D) – rubato. This makes his words seem the prominent element – stressing the drama. The gentile bassoon plays a descending line – while the horn plays a simplified version ~ this ‘decent’ becomes a theme in Tony and Maria’s relationship. It also plunges Toney into a dream world. This opening line leads swiftly on to the theme of ‘Maria’. Throughout the song there are many variations on ‘Maria’ – however the first time (bar …show more content…
In bar 3 the theme from Maria is echoed in the violins. This opening piece of music (1-29) is very important; it acts as an underscore – reminiscing previous songs, as it gently continues and goes through many temporary modulations. In Bar 30 the vocals begin; (Only Maria sings) the instrumentation is thin – with violins holding sustained notes creating a tense, hesitant yet romantic atmosphere. The descending line theme ‘augmented’ in the bass. The tempo is marked as andantino, little faster – as the tension increases. All this forces the vocal melody to be exposed, (making the soloistmore important) demonstrating their vulnerability and innocence. At bar 32 a contrabass is added, marked pizz, - this adds an amazing gently pulsating, heartbeat rhythmical effect – creating much excitement; reflecting their emoticons. {draw:frame} The vocal melody is still very exposed and prominent as it rises above the accompaniment in broken chords. In bar 37 Tony sings alone, as he says “Maria” there is a perfect5th between the ‘Ma-ri’ like the actual song, ‘Maria’ – again linking the two songs. Maria then sings solo, for one bar only, she repeats his name twice – echoing his actions, this makes the duet seem more conversational – enhancing the drama. Bar 42; Allegretto – always a little

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