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Comment on three musicals from the period 1960 - Present Day

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Choose and Comment on Three Musicals from the Period 1960-Present Day This period is categorised by the dominant influences from pop and rock styles on the numbers from musicals, and also development of technology which allowed for body mics, synthesisers, and greater amplification; all of which aided the largest productions known as ?Megamusicals?, such as the 1980 musical, ?Les Miserables?. ?Les Miserables? is a book-based musical set against a war background; and was such a successful ?megamusical? it was released as a film. The show?s prologue alone contains the seven dominant themes and leitmotifs present throughout, thus acting as a typical Broadway overture. One of the opening themes is ?Look Down? number which is in a noticeable march style rhythm to represent the working, down-trodden folk who sing it. This bass theme returns whenever these folk are on stage or alluded to and is developed via the use of contrafactum as the urchin, Gavroche sings over the music with altered lyrics. ...read more.


Lloyd Webber?s 1978 production, ?Evita?, also featured music which conveyed the plot and emotions of characters. It is also similar to ?Les Mis? as the libretto is entirely sung and was made into a film following much success. Two musical styles dominate; each linked to a key mode of expression; the first, Spanish tinged rock, and the second, modern, syncopated, dissonant music. The former is employed primarily to communicate the presence of cynicism, dissembling, or pretence. This is evident in the number, ?There is No One? which is in the style of Twentieth Century Art music and waltz, with accented dissonance which also is used to express real feelings. This style of Spanish tinged soft rock is found in the musical?s most famous song, ?Don?t Cry for My Argentina? which features tango bass. The number is about Eva?s relationship with the people. The melody reappears throughout thus, reinforcing its centrality to the story. ...read more.


The climax of this piece is based on the traditional chant, ?Dies Irae? by Jenkins. The most well-known piece from Sweeney Todd is ?Epiphany? in which Todd plans to kill the judge who raped his wife. His obsession of motif, ?D, C, Eb, F? is played in rapid string semi-quavers, against lengthy pedal notes which enhance emotional tension. Aggressive melodies are supported by dissonant while lyrical lines are accompanied in a Romantic fashion. To show Todd?s fluctuating emotions, he is given a dramatic range of vocal styles; his recitative like low pitched lines at ?hole in the world?, change to higher, more lyrical lines for ?they all deserve to die? and again at ?Welcome to the grave? as its now spoken and manic. All three musicals mentioned have been made into movies due to their success on-stage. This was possible due to the advancement in recording during this period. It was during the period 1960- present day musicals were able to grow as performances and reach more people. ...read more.

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