Analysis of Something's Coming: West Side Story

Topics: Rhythm, Syncopation, Music Pages: 2 (521 words) Published: May 11, 2013

Something’s Coming appears towards the start of the musical and introduces Tony, the male lead. Through the song, the audience finds out that Tony is waiting for something to happen and feels like it will be soon.

You will notice the use of muted brass in the accompaniment, a subtle jazz reference that places the piece in the mid 1900s. The verse comprises of push rhythms on “could be” and “who knows” that fall into long sustained notes over a repeated syncopated bass line. The push rhythms show Tony’s anticipation. The short, repeated accompaniment riffs are based on a Dmajsus♯4 chord that is another jazz reference and also implies an unsettled feeling in the character. The syncopation used here feels like it is pushing Tony along as it anticipates the beats. The contrast between this fast paced bass and Tony’s held melody reflects the cool exterior that he wants to show and the excitement that is bubbling underneath. At b21 these emotions burst through, as the piece becomes forte and 2/4 from 4/4. This faster feel reflects the lyrics “cannonballing” and there is a sense of the piece cannonballing and escalating. The following bars use accents on beats to make the metre feel like 3/8 not 2/4 which increases movement as the beats are being driven sooner. If any have seen the musical before, they will understand the nuance of the B♭that accompanies the lyrics, “If I can WAIT”; the B♭is a blues note that introduces a feeling of uncertainty and is perhaps an indication of the faults that arise should characters not be prepared to ‘wait’. At the end of the chorus there is a bar of 3/4 that has used accents to give a 2 feel even though it’s in 3 (like an inverse hemiola). This delays the melody and builds up tension and excitement to its entry, bringing focus to the lyrics, “gonna be great”. And emphasising Tony’s hopefulness, successfully transferring a sense of optimism to the audience. The second time bars of the chorus modulate up a tone...
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