Monday, September 2, 2013

Magic To Do from Pippin Blog Post #1

The song that I chose to write about comes from my favorite Broadway  musical, “Pippin.” This past summer I saw this amazing show, and the opening number grabbed my attention right away. “Magic To Do” was a perfect song to grasp the minds, ears and eyes of everyone watching.
The piece starts out with a string ensemble, and adds on more instruments as it goes. The first 26 seconds of the piece I’m not able to identify a distinct meter, and there is a polyphony going on. It sets up the mood as if the orchestra is getting prepared for the show just like the actors. This ties in well with the circus themed plot.
From 0:27-0:30, there is a crescendo and chord progression in the string instruments that sets us up for the tune to really begin its “magic”. From 0:30-0:36, there is a fermata in the string section until the keyboard starts the bass line right after. When the keyboard does come in, it sets up a clear meter, which is 4/4.
At 0:54, a chorus of voices enters with “ooos” in harmony and repeat the same pattern. This sets up the first phrase of the song and the melody slowly comes into play. There is a steady rhythm in the singing of the chorus, and it is easy to follow along with the beat.
The “Leading Player”, Patina Miller, enters at 1:11 and starts to tell the audience that there is “Magic To Do” for all of us. With her voice and the words she uses, the texture of the song makes you feel welcomed and excited for the events to come. The accompaniment under her voice is a repeated steady rhythm with some modulations.
Through the whole first verse and chorus, the dynamics of the song remain at a mezzo forte sound. In the chorus, the instruments still maintain a steady rhythm but in a different pattern. At 2:00, the instruments and the Leading Players’ voice both slightly decrescendo and have a different feel to them, setting us up for the next verse.
At 2:08, other characters start making their appearances and have their own solos. The key also changes at this point of the song. Then at 2:16, the chorus comes back into play and makes a group harmony that sounds consonant.
At 2:35, Patina does an arpeggio and sets us up for the main chorus. The whole song seems to be in a major chord because it sounds positive and optimistic. The instrumental break starting at 3:07 brings more of a fun feel into the song and this is when they start doing interesting acrobatic tricks and intriguing the audience even more.
At 3:37, the music starts to crescendo again with a chord progression, leading us to believe that the singing is going to come back in soon. Starting at 4:00, the song moves into counterpoints and the chorus starts overlapping their words. This gives the feeling of an organized chaos. At 4:17, the ensemble sounds unison. Another decrescendo occurs, and the tone becomes more ominous. The ending of the song starts with a whole note including the entire orchestra, and it ends on a staccato quarter note.
The texture of the song sets up the mood for the entire play. If you look into the deeper meaning behind the ominous sections of the music, you can realize the foreshadowing that the players are not going to be great people.  The opening number of any musical is supposed to captivate you, and “Magic To Do” from “Pippin” is the perfect example of why that is true. 

1 comment:

  1. I decided to come back to this because I heard a few people singing songs from "Pippin" this week. After hearing this song and the ones they were singing, I want to go see this musical now!
    ~Magnetic The Shaman