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Friday, February 01, 2008

Nick's post

Bernstein and Sondheim’s “One Hand, One Heart” is a piece that probably four out of every five people know. It is frequently played/sung at weddings and comes from the famous musical “West Side Story”. Within the piece we can certainly find modal mixture through the scale degrees me and te, which in the key of Gb Major are Bbb and Fb. They appear beginning in measure seven towards the end of the second phrase which is nearly identical to the first. We can also find it throughout the last phrase in measures thirteen through sixteen. One funny thing I discovered while analyzing this piece was that the popular music symbols do not line up with the numerals, due to inversions throughout the piece. We see the most modal mixture in the last phrase with the words “Only death will part us now.” Those words are the exact reason we have a great deal of modal mixture. For those who do not know the story, this line in the song is foreshadowing what will happen later in the musical, and the mixture used by the composers gives the piece that goose bump feeling. The song itself is beautiful, and I imagine it will be played for quite some time.

1 comment:

Scott said...

The pop symbols don't match, not because of inversions, but because they used enharmonic spellings: Enat instead of Fb, Bnat instead of Cb.

Spell out what happens later (give spoilers!) How does the modal mixture specifically help in foreshadowing Tony's and Maria's deaths?

Another thing to note in this excerpt is the progression from m. 7 to m.8 of bVII to IV6. We've discussed in class that bVII usually goes to bIII, as it does in mm. 13-14. But from 7-10 we have this descending bass line that has a more unusual use of the bVII, really taking the vi-iii progression of m. 5-6 and lifting it up a half step (changing the chord qualities as well), to make "one heart" stick out as hopeful and bright and different.