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Thursday, January 31, 2008

One Hand, one heart by Chapin

In Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim's West Side Story is full of wonderfully constructed music. In the song "One Hand, One Heart" uses many intersesting modal mixtures to accentuate certain aspects of the text. Bernstein uses his first modal mixture in measure 7, using te scale degree to give a feeling that the character's love is out of the ordinary, but right. In my opinion the chord doesn't really seem completely "out there". To me, it feels more like the chord is a warm bedding for the text. However, the chord on the word "death" feels much more onimous on the bIII chord. Putting a sadder sounding chord on the word death as a foreshadowing for the lover's fate is a fairly obvious observation, but merits a mention none-the-less. With regard to the guitar tabs atop the score, can be very missleading, when trying to play these songs on guitar. The cheif reason being that this song was not written for guitar. Also in measure 7, it is explained as a E natural chord, but in the music there is an bF, which is ok for E natural, but it is not really an E chord, it is an bF chord. Bernstein shows very good judgement as to where he will put his mode mixture chords, by using them to illustrate the text. Such as on the word "death" and "one" which are crucial to the story of the song as well as the story overall.

1 comment:

Scott said...

Good start, I like "warm bedding for the text." Consider performance possibilities. Look at my comments on the other Bernstein posts.