Tuesday, February 08, 2005

"Phantom of the Opera"

I just got the soundtrack of Phantom of the Opera for Valentines so I couldn't resist analyzing it for this class. I'm going to write about the piece, "Phantom of the Opera." I have to admitt that the CD recording doesn't quite compare with the movie's surround sound, but I decided not to blast out my floor playing it loud enough to get the whole effect. This piece begins with a huge tutti organ sfz going down a scale by half steps. Underlying these dramatic chords is a pulse that naturally causes the listener to feel as though their very heart is racing along with the rhythmic pulse in the music. This heart pulse, along with the powerful presence of the organ, grips the listeners and pulls them far into the depths of the music. Then, a solo female vocalist, Christine, begins. Her section is symmetrical and sounds like a double period with the second phrase ending on a half cadence. In the interlude, the organ returns to further intensify her solo section. During the following male section, the same form is used. However, there is an extension at the end adding a vocal line that mimics the downward half step scale of the organ. This dynamic and density change between loud organ with many voices and soft solo voices heightens the division of the periods. The next section of the piece modulates. The intensity builds as the timbre of the voices is filled with pleaing. Finally, as if gasping for air, Christine is minimized to mere high range, "ahs." This incredibly high and piercing range prepares the listener for one last cry that reverberates as the piece dramatically ends.

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