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

897 Words Apr 11th, 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…
Full orchestration on the 6th variation of Maria; this variation of Maria is a descending phrase, as it moves down a tone each time: Also rhythmically augmented. Middle syllable is an appoggiatura. {draw:frame} The phrase continues to descend with “say it loud and there’s music playing”. There is also a diminuendo in bar 23 and the violins take on a more prominent role – this makes the music seem more romantic and soft, Bernstein has used word painting here as Tony describes Maria’s name as soft “almost like praying”, plus on the word ‘praying’ there’s a per5th. In bar 28, the 6th in-between the ‘ri +a’ _(like the 1st version of Maria, but last note turned upside down)_ becomes a countermelody, the theme is played in the contrabass; this constant repeat of ‘Maria’ demonstrates Tony’s worship for her. In bar 48, the theme is demonstrated in thicker texture again – it leads to an operatic recitative style line from Tony ppp (while the accompaniment is simply semibreves) far from the ‘Latin style dance atmosphere’ demonstrated previously. {draw:frame} Finally in Bar 51 there is one more variation of ‘Maria’ – reminiscent of the first version – but with a per5th (ma-ri), the ‘a’(G) is held for about the last two bars; underneath this, an Eb is held making the ‘a’ sound like a discord. This creates a certain pain about the
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