• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Explain how music was used to reveal characters' personalities in the Broadway Musicals

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Explain how music was used to reveal characters? personalities in the Broadway Musical. The Broadway musical was a time of innovation in the world of musical entertainment as it integrated music into the plot in order to advance it, reveal character, or create mood. Before this, forms of entertainment were provided for amusement only, however, with the Broadway musical came the theme of more serious issues that made audiences think and consider the world in which they lived. ?Showboat? has been suggested as being the first Broadway musical. Kern uses a perfect 4th to represent the Mississippi River in the musical ?Showboat?, which is arguably the protagonist of the entire show. In giving it a leitmotif of its own, Kern establishes its dominance in the musical. However, a triton is employed for Parthy?s motif in order to show her hatred and hostility toward the river. In the opening number, ?Niggers All Work?, hollow chords are used to provide a lack of warmth to the piece. This, along with the detached style of notes shows the hostility the black workers felt toward their white bosses. ...read more.

Middle

In the musical ?Anything goes? by Hammerstein, the character of protagonist, Reno Sweeny played by popular singer Ethel Merman is portrayed the numbers she performs. The piece ?Anything Goes? can be used to best reveal her personality and her background; it begins with a strict, march like style with on the beat fanfare interjections and features a downward minor tonic triad. This represents Reno?s current strict lifestyle as an evangelist. However, the music then changes and becomes more upbeat, and legato with long, smooth phrases; this symbolises her previous night club lifestyle. Reno?s leitmotif is triplets and these are prominent in the piece, ?I Get a Kick Out of You?. Reno sings this to Billy and her leitmotif is present when she sings of all the things she does not get a kick out of, but they disappear whenever she tells Billy she gets a kick out of him. Complex rhythms are also associated with Reno to show the complexity of her character. Her evangelist lifestyle is shown also through the song, ?Blow Gabriel Blow?, this piece is an upbeat, gospel like song which makes use of church like features such as an accompanying organ and chorus to represent a church choir. ...read more.

Conclusion

However as she sings, ?Bess You is My Woman Now? with Porgy, she sings a portion of Porgy?s signature song ?When Gawd Made a Cripple?, this shows that Bess is the answer to Porgy?s loneliness. To show their connection, Gershwin uses an F# major chord in their duet which doesn?t appear in any other piece of music throughout the musical. In addition to this, at the end of the opera, Bess sings ?Summertime? to Clara?s baby showing she has been accepted into Catfish Row. The chorus is a central character in ?Porgy and Bess? and the song ?Summertime? is used to show their closeness as a community. Sportin? Life?s motif in ?Porgy and Bess? is a high pitched and eerie to show he is an outsider and triplets demonstrate his snake-like charm. The use of chromaticism symbolises his attempt at seduction and a triton is featured also to show his evil qualities. His leitmotif is dominant when it plays, making other music subordinate showing his dominant personality. For the character of Crown, energetic syncopation is employed to symbolise his highly energetic character. It is clear composers during this time consciously employed musical features to portray to the audience the personalities and themes of characters within their shows. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Music section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Music essays

  1. Consider historically and critically a chosen genre of popular music - Rap music.

    More than most genres', rap/hip-hop has become a culture with its own sub-genres and buzzwords which can seem almost impenetrable to the novice. Despite this proliferation of schools of production and performance, many rap records can appear virtually indistinguishable from each other to a new listener.

  2. Free essay

    Changes and Developments In Te Use Of Tonality In Musicals From Showboat to Sondheim

    The tempo was also slowed down a touch, overall giving a rather more melancholy mood. Kern was very bold in introducing racial issues into a Broadway musical for the first time, and he was keen on the idea of using his music to give subtle references to the background of his characters.

  1. What is musical genius?

    culture to culture, genius is often 'lost in translation' as it no longer follows conventions laid down through culture and tradition. The fact that different cultures will have different views on all manners of life will also mean they have differing views on beauty and subsequently music, and what constitutes a music genius.

  2. What is the nature of employment in the music industry?

    There will be no actual income until they have had customers and they have decided to pay you, this is why early advertisement and the running of a full time job is usually the way people do things because they are still getting a regular wage to pay bills, so

  1. In this assignment I am going to be explaining and assessing how I think ...

    The use of the synthesiser can be seen in many popular songs such as bohemian rhapsody, many various queen songs too now the well known pop artists also to rock and sometimes jazz and nu-jazz. Personally I think that Using music technology in live applications can be widely spread because

  2. Comment on how composers communicated emotion in musicals.

    The lyrics show the couple?s insecurities as the line, ?Soon you?d leave me? is supported by a Db minor chord. The strong modulation to Bb minor expresses their strong feelings toward one another and during the reprise of this song; this is the section in which Billy begins to sing

  1. Discuss why you think Showboat was so successful. Refer to music examples in your ...

    The lyrics assist the theme of prejudice and inequality as the workers sing, ?Niggers all work while de white men play?. The workers? incessant monotonous torture is displayed via the rhythm of the piece which constitutes the piece as a work song, representing the monotonous labour the black people were forced to carry out.

  2. Present and discuss the features of the Broadway Musical. You must refer to specific ...

    ?I Get A Kick Out of You? explains Reno?s feeling toward Sir Evelyn which both reveals her character and also advances the plot of ?Anything Goes?. During the 1920s and 1930?s, dances such as the Charleston (the precursor to the Lindy hop), Swing and tap were popular in society.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work