Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"If I Can't Love Her" from the Broadway musical Beauty and the Beast

"If I Can't Love Her" from the Broadway Musical Beauty and the Beast. Original cast recording.

Belle has rejected the Beast's affections, and in this show stopping song, he expresses his feelings of distress.
The piece begins with trumpets playing very freely at a pp dynamic. Once The Beast begins to sing, the trumpets echo his vocal part. About 12 measures into the song, there is a brief modulation to the key of Eb Major, and then the tonality shifts back to CMajor. Right before the refrain begins, there is a Half Cadence, and a very large break, which builds suspense. When the Beast comes in, he is singing at mp in a beautiful falsetto voice. The melody is very sensitive and tender, and the tenderness is enhanced when we really hear the violins playing mp in a higer register than we have heard thus far.
When The Beast starts getting really angry, the song modulates for the first and only time to a minor key. The accompaniment becomes very agitated sixteenth notes. The orchestra plays a brief interlude, and the tonality shifts back to a major key. The dynamics gradually change from mf to ff, building up to the climax of the beast coming back in. When he enters, the music is atempo, and he is belting passionately. After a brief 8 measures, there is a modulation to an even higher key, and the song reaches its loudest dynamic yet.
The big finish consists of the melody going up the scale by steps, and as the Beast holds out a high Do, the trumpets blast away and there is a drum roll. The song ends on a PAC.
I think this piece is successful because of the build that is created throughout the song by changes in key and a gradual build in dynamics. Without these musical elements, there wouldn't be such a climax, and the song wouldn't be such a showstopper.

Well kids, there is your lesson on the Broadway Musical for the day. :-)

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