Musical History: Salient Characteristics Of Specific Songs And Shows

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F12- MUSHIST60

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Relation to original play and to Cinderella/symbolic use of slippers
 
My Fair Lady (Shaw, Pascal, Lerner, Loewe, 1956)
Relation to creative act
 
My Fair Lady (Shaw, Pascal, Lerner, Loewe, 1956)
His story becomes more her story
 
My Fair Lady (Shaw, Pascal, Lerner, Loewe, 1956)
flawed vocalities: she sings but can't speak well, he speaks well but can't sing (speech-song)
 
My Fair Lady (Shaw, Pascal, Lerner, Loewe, 1956)
Dubbing in movie version as problem
 
My Fair Lady (Shaw, Pascal, Lerner, Loewe, 1956)
Rex Harrison's speech-song
 
"Why Can't the English"
"putting on airs" (which she will take to the extreme)
 
"Wouldn't it be Loverly"
Abso-blooming-lutely
 
"Wouldn't it be Loverly"
Tin Pan Alley AABA (most of hers are; not his)
 
"Wouldn't it be Loverly"
speech-training phrases as basis for the song
 
"The Rain in Spain"
Tango, celebratory, gay subtext (cf. "Good Mornin'" in Singin' in the Rain)
 
"The Rain in Spain"
her false reading of prefious song as romantic (like Freddy's latersong, "On the street where you Live": a one-sided romance)
 
"I Could Have Danced All Night"
Shows he might also learn from her (adapts "I Could Have Danced All Night")
 
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
alternates with earlier rants
 
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
transition: anger to hope
 
"I've Grown Accustomed to Her Face"
two roughly parallel tracks, with "play within a play"
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
Lunt and Fontanne
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
Porter's use of phrases from Shakespeare and archaic musical styles in play within play
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
control issues
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
monogamy issues
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
importance of role-playing in relationships
 
Kiss Me, Kate (Shakespeare, Porter, 1948)
towns, rising sequence as excitement, parallel to "We Open in Venice"
 
"Another Openin'"
towns, falling sequence as boring routine
 
"We Open in Venice"
Binaca to suitors, derivation from Shakespeare ("I'm a miad mad to marry")
 
"Any Tom, Dick or Harry"
saucy wordplay
 
"Any Tom, Dick or Harry"
archaisms: canzona rhythm, madrigal style, harmonic
 
"Any Tom, Dick or Harry"
remembered waltz-song from Viennese operetta
 
"Wunderbar"
recalls basis of love, multilingual
 
"Wunderbar"
the big love song in operatic style
 
"So in Love"
sung by each when other isn't present
 
"So in Love"
build-up to breakthrough (Key change) within AABA structure
 
"So in Love"
"list" song, multi-lingual, very sexual
 
"Always True to You In My Fashion"
Shakespeare: exaggerated capitulation ("taking back") so both win (or think they've won)
 
"I Am Ashamed That Women Are So Simple"
Audience participation
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
1973 musical (O'Brien: "They Came from Dento High")
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
old science fiction films from 50's meet old horror films from 30's, in pardoy of rock and roll
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
parodies cold-war culture (Communism scare, pulp sensationalism, sexploitation)
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
CAMP
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
post-Stonewall
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
Wizard of Oz references
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
legacy of cult film
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
Basis of characters (Frank N Furter, Riff Raff, Magenta, Criminologist, Brad & Janet)
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
monstrous queer dies (genre convention)
 
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (O'Brien, 1974)
invitation to remember (specific film references), floating lips, androgynous
 
"Scinece Fiction/ Double Feature"
parody of gay bar, mixed gender
 
"The Time Warp"
dance as drug, "how-to" (dance craze)
 
"The Time Warp"
"controlling alternativity in performance"
 
"The Time Warp"
sexual ambivalence
 
"Sweet Transvestite"
burlesque (monstor and scientist), mashup of styles
 
"Sweet Transvestite"
Charles Atlas + Frankenstein
 
"I Can Make You a Man"
blasphemy (playing God, 7 days, "A Man" / Amen cadence), heterosexual panic around "recruiting"
 
"I Can Make You a Man"
Doo-wop progression, "message" of film, Esther Williams
 
"Don't Dream It: Be It"
stage mom
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
title as both daughter and mother (use of paired numbers)
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
theme: vaudeville/burlesque decline
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
theme: mother-child issues
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
theme: gender
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
theme: American Dream
 
Gypsy (Gypsy Rose Lee) (Sondheim, Styne, Laurents, 1959)
cute kid's song later becomes part of Gypsy's "gimmick" as stripper (a kind of camp that humanizes her)
 
"Let Me (May We) Entertain You"
"Hello, my name is..."
 
"Baby June & Her Newsboys"
tricks, climb (risque meanings)
 
"Baby June & Her Newsboys"
first when Baby June leaves, introduces triplets, recalled in "Rose's Turn"
 
"Everything's Coming Up Roses"
Sondeheim compiled
 
"Roses's Turn"
after "Gypsy Rose Lee" is successful, Mama Rose is on her own; breakdown
 
"Roses's Turn"
applause problem
 
"Roses's Turn"
music as revealer of inside
 
Once More, With Feeling (Buffy, Joss Whedon, 2001)
fire as inner spark: dangerous but needed
 
Once More, With Feeling (Buffy, Joss Whedon, 2001)
magic to ideal to sex (outside to inside; inside; inside to outside)
 
Once More, With Feeling (Buffy, Joss Whedon, 2001)
Buffy: routine as routine (no spark)
 
"Going Trhough the Motions"
Tara & Willow: magic to ideal to sex
 
"Under Your Spell"
Sweet (demon): the demon within that he lets out, through music
 
"What You Feel"
multi-persepctives (WSS's "Tonight")
 
"Walk Through The Fire"
inspiration as shared idealism
 
"Walk Through The Fire"
Buffy needs spark (eventually provided by Spike)
 
"Give Me Something to Sing About"
White's Once and future King (1958, but from late 1930s)
 
Camelot (Lerner & Loewe, 1960)
transition from operetta (fairy tale) to idealistic (adult)
 
Camelot (Lerner & Loewe, 1960)
chain of songs, each providing seed for next song
 
Camelot (Lerner & Loewe, 1960)
reality of ideal (Lancelot) unravels ideal, structure like Into the Woods: happily ever after ... and then...
 
Camelot (Lerner & Loewe, 1960)
tropes of magic (octatonic scale) & primitive heroic (fanfares in parallel chords)
 
Overture (Camelot)
Provides material for "Where are the Simple Joys of Maidenhood?"
 
"I Know What My People Are Thinking Tonight"
parallel to "I Know"
 
"Where are the Simple Joys of Maidenhood?"
provides material for "Camelot"
 
"Where are the Simple Joys of Maidenhood?"
transition from fairy tale to idealsim (reprise leads to "C'est Moi")
 
"Camelot"
Lancelot as embodied ideal (a problem!)
 
"C'est Moi"
ostinato as fate: rality catches up
 
"Guenevere"
pantomime & sound bites: newsreel effect
 
"Guenevere"
ideal lives on in stories
 
"Finale: Camelot"
mosaic approach in intertwined fairy tales
 
Into the Woods (Sondheim, 1987)
after "ever after" (responsibility, unraveling, loss of narrative frame)
 
Into the Woods (Sondheim, 1987)
Act I as solving problems by going "into the woods"
 
Into the Woods (Sondheim, 1987)
Act II as dealing with problematic solutions, paying hidden costs, reconsidering
 
Into the Woods (Sondheim, 1987)
setting up animating impulses (individual quests)
 
"Into the Woods"
"I wish"
 
"Into the Woods"
Red Riding Hood's "precessing" number
 
"I Know Things Now"
"nice" vs. "good"
 
"I Know Things Now"
Act I finale: all problems solved (or are they?)
 
"Ever After"
2 Princes reconsider: in Act I the agony of not having, Act II the agony of having + wanting the "agony" of pursuit
 
"Agony"
reconsidering meanings, comfort, but also responsibility
 
"No One Is Alone"
reconsidering meanings: Chlidren won't listen becomes "children will listen": wishes, tales, children, all live on, so be careful
 
"Finale (Children Will Listen)"
response to Disney's Snow White (1937)
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
different meanings, depending on perspective: camp, children's lit (young girl in trouble), homesexual outing ("Friends of Dorothy"), politicial, drugs (Pink Floyd)
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
doubleness, especially attractions of Oz AND safety of home
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
Oz as empowerment
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
Oz as scary (near-death experience)
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
framed as narrative film
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
tendency toward short songs
 
The Wizard of Oz (Arlen and Harburg, 1939)
only song in Kansas, reaches up to rainbow, pulls it in, MERM as quiet
 
"Over the Rainbow"
short, ditty-like songs of Munchkinland, possible gay readings ("if any")
 
"As Mayor of the Munchkin City"/"As Coronor, I Must Aver"
collecting FoD: all have something "different" (pointing toward homosexuality)
 
"If I Only Had..."
parody of opera
 
"If I Were King of the Forest"
possible gay readings
 
"If I Were King of the Forest"
Baz Luhrmann
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
over-the-top MERM
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
conflation of Orpheus & La Traviata / La Boheme
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
significance of AIDS references & homosexual dimension
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
doublness of camp: romantic and hilarious
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
Bohemian virtues: truth, beauty, freedom, love
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
basis in known songs (songs of our day) rather than period songs
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
often significant sources for songs
 
Moulin Rouge (2001)
vagabond Ahbez
 
"Nature Boy" (Ahbez)
free-floating waltz idiom
 
"Nature Boy" (Ahbez)
source of key line: "The greatest thing you'll ever learn / Is just to love and be loved in return."
 
"Nature Boy" (Ahbez)
first "Orpheus moment"
 
"The Sound of Music" (Rodgers and Hammerstein)
second "Orpheus moment": "My gift is my song" / "How wonderful life is / Now you're in the world."
 
"Your Song" (Taupin & John)
Tango as fate and obsession
 
"Tango de Roxanne" (Sting, Mores, Luhrmann, & Pearce)
visual and musical counterpoint (montage) building to violence
 
"Tango de Roxanne" (Sting, Mores, Luhrmann, & Pearce)
circumstances of source song (Mercury and AIDS) visual motive (striding forward)
 
"The Show Must Go On" (Mercury, May, Taylor & Deacon)
operatta trope of "secret song"
 
"Come What May" (Baerwald)
allows spiritual rescue, redemptive love
 
"Come What May" (Baerwald)
wodden acting, but deliberate plotting: displace and reclaim black traditions from minstrelsy & "Jungle" members
 
Stormy Weather (1943)
background (Blacks in Hollywood, WWII)
 
Stormy Weather (1943)
minstrel tropes
 
Stormy Weather (1943)
jungle tropes (Bojangles Robinson in war paint dancing on drums)
 
Stormy Weather (1943)
19th- Century basis, caricature bonnets
 
"Cakewalk"
Ada Brown & Fats Waller
 
"That Ain't Right" (Cole and Mills)
undermining blues
 
"That Ain't Right" (Cole and Mills)
Fats Waller "mincing" & flirting
 
"Aint' Misbehivin'"
Lena Horne, Katherine Dunham
 
"Stormy Weather" (Arlen and Koehler)
tradition of "strom aria" (storm inside= storm outside)
 
"Stormy Weather" (Arlen and Koehler)
storm motives slowed down (sad, yet sexy)
 
"Stormy Weather" (Arlen and Koehler)
Black ballet troupe
 
"Stormy Weather" (Arlen and Koehler)
Cab Calloway
 
"Jumpin' Jive" (Calloway and Palmer)
Jive talk
 
"Jumpin' Jive" (Calloway and Palmer)
call/response
 
"Jumpin' Jive" (Calloway and Palmer)
scat singing
 
"Jumpin' Jive" (Calloway and Palmer)
showcase dance routine by Nicholas Brothers (splits stairways, outdoing Bojangles, displacing war paint & drums with tuxedos and music stands)
 
"Jumpin' Jive" (Calloway and Palmer)
Comden & Green
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
basis in history
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
theme of body doubles, voice doubles
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
MERM
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
"Buddy" film
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
songs from period
 
Singin' in the Rain (Freed and Brown, 1952)
truth & lies
 
"Fit as a Fiddle"
MERM
 
"You Were Meant for Me"
triangle situation
 
"Good Mornin'"
Cyd Charise as body-double
 
"Broadway Ballet"
Louise Brooks look
 
"Broadway Ballet"
sexuality
 
"Broadway Ballet"
Vegas-like Broadway
 
"Broadway Ballet"
perspective, all-Asian (and mostly male) cast, mixes of musical, verbal, and theatrical styles, haiku, Kabuki, Noh, de Falla as model for musical sound
 
"Pacific Overtures" (Weidman, Prince, Sondheim 1976)
based more closely on history (corrective to The King and I and others)
 
"Pacific Overtures" (Weidman, Prince, Sondheim 1976)
Japan as floating, circular, primitive, static
 
"The Advantages of Floating the the Middle of the Sea"
ref. "Tradition" (Fiddler on the Roof): starting point that will undergo change
 
"The Advantages of Floating the the Middle of the Sea"
Haikku-like exchange of poems, gradually adding syllables, mapping America to a beloved
 
"Poems"
gentle song about violence: "Washing yesterday away, America"
 
"Poems"
context: one beloved (wife) shamed to suicide, the otehr (America) will betray trust
 
"Poems"
history as mosaic, never completely observed
 
"Someone in a Tree"
pastiche of nations (America/Sousa; English/Gilbert and Sullivan, Dutch wooden shoe, Russian "Bear") choas managed by French "detente"
 
"Please Hello"
larger metaphor of imperialsm as cutlural rape (ref. "Please Hello")
 
"Pretty Lady"
lyrical violence, blend of styles, Western lament figure, imitative counterpoint
 
"Pretty Lady"
"oreintal" sound
 
"Pretty Lady"
Japanese version of Broadway cockneys
 
"Pretty Lady"
finale: Primitivism into industrialism, the sound of corporate America
 
"Next"
pride of survival instead of tradition
 
"Next"
film 1956, 1944 novel, falsifying memoir 1870/1872
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
Yul Brynner
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
Gertrude Lawrence
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
Jerome Robbins
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
no Asians among leads
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
gets history wrong (banned in Thailand).
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
Real Story: Siam isolated from 1688, pressure to allow European trade in mid-19th-century, ongoing conflict w/ Burma, King Mongkut (Brynner) rules 1851-68 after 26 years as Buddhist monk, westernizes, learns English, scientist, heir abolisihes slavery, completes Westernizing. Anna small part of Mongkut's Westernizing
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
In show: American parallels (slavery, Uncle Tom's Cabin, civilizing [feminizing]) focus on education and broadening perspective
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
Issues: gender, Orientalism, slavery (Moses), race
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
perspective
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
"orientalist" music (not authentic)
 
"The King and I" (Rodgers & Hammerstein, 1951)
displaces scary chanting of Siamese, primativist repeated-note motive
 
"Whistle a Happy Tune"
Orientalizing music: instruments, pentatonicism
 
"March of the Siamese Children"
knowledge as uncertainty, the "primative" & the "childlike"
 
"Is a Puzzlement"
possiblity of union: powerful but dangerous, fear trust, who leads
 
"Shall we Dance"
note: Polka, not waltz (faster, more powerful movement)
 
"Shall we Dance"
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