Gcse Music Analysis Bernstein-Somethings Coming

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Something's Coming- Bernstein

General Points
-Composed by Leonard Bernstein

- A song from the musical 'West Side Story', which is a musical based on Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'.
 - First Performed on Broadway in 1957.

- Sung by solo tenor voice, 'Tony'.

Instrumentation
- Solo tenor voice.

- Accompanied by a chamber orchestra consisting of woodwind, brass, percussion and strings.
 - Quiet dynamics, soft timbres, the use of mutes, pizzicato and a clear homophonic texture are used to make sure that instruments don't overpower the voice.
 - The music illustrates the words, for instance when he sings 'the air is humming'.
 - Harmonies and tremolo are used in the strings.


- The instruments often imitate each other, usually at different octaves.

Melody and Structure
- The piece is almost entirely syllabic and based on the following 3 main themes:
 1) A quiet, syncopated opening theme.

2) A loud, strident theme in the metre 2/4 that starts at bar 21.
 3) A lyrical, slow-moving theme that starts at bar 73.

- The themes are repeated a number of times but are varied each time by Bernstein.
 - Bernstein changes things such as the metre or words each time a theme is heard.

Rhythm, Metre and Tempo
- Metre changes between 2/4 and 3/4.

- Changes of metre, a fast tempo and the use of a lot of syncopation maintains a feeling of excitement and anticipation. 
 - Use of cross-rhythms throughout (for example in the intro).
 - Accompaniment is made up of an off-beat bass line, which constantly pushes forward a 'push rhythm', and off beat chords.

Harmony And Tonality
- Written in D Major although there are 2 contrasting sections in C Major (heard in bars 32-72 and 106-127)
 - Use of tritone which is an interval of 3 whole tones, e.g. C-F#.
 - Last note of the entire piece is a flattened 7th which remains unsolved and creates a feeling of incompletion.
 - The harmony is jazz influenced.
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