Sunday, February 06, 2005


Baz Luhrmann, The Moulin Rouge

This song was good for melodic dictation practice. It begins with a solo piano line, the bass sol-sol-le-sol-re-do-ti-le-sol-fa-me-re-do. This phrarse diminuendos, slowing down and also delaying slightly the resolution from re to do. The song starts to take a definite shape when the bass pulses out a simple quadruple time signature on do, placing metric accents on one and three to begin the tango. The strings introduce the aggressive and passionate theme by suddenly arriving togehter on the and of four in to one, further accenting one. The intro, from the piano solo to the end of the bass's line, acts as a sort of drum roll for the strings. It creates a tension, and adds even more weight to the string's entrance. Then, the song really gets into the tango feel through the strings heavy accent on one and three, done by first entering on the and of. In addition to the motive in the strings, there is a violin solo introduced. The solo is high pitched, more lively, but struggles against the strings solid tango rhythm throughout the song. All of the strings then enter a descending scalar bass from do to sol; the basses' continuing to accent one and three so the tango feel is not lost. After hearing the descending scalar line a couple of times, the listener does not expect the sudden break in the pattern straight to one in the strings. There are several examples througout the song of these deceptive points, and it is one of the things that makes it such a moody sounding song. When the singer enters, he doesn't really sing, he sort of growls out the notes, but it fit's the sad theme to the song. There is even more tension created by the soprano line because of the delay from me to do when he belts out,"Roxanne." The strings act as a pulse, and so whever they stop, it signals by not tho the listener a cadence or dramatic point. The points are usually built up by crescendos or ascending scalar base patterns (in the strings). The second time this happens is to introduce the other singer, who is a complete contrast to the deep growling sound of the first one. To accompany this singer, the strings begin a contrasting line to the typical weighty one by just plucking eighth notes in a descending scalar pattern. Anyway, as the singer crescendos and gradually enters a duet with the other singer the song picks up momentum by the basses change to ascending and descending sixteeths, with crescendos in places of high emotion and then with diminuendos to emphasize them . This part is sort of like a roller coaster, it sounds fast and aggressive and up and down. Eventually the song builds up with several mores voices, and crescendos to its climax, becoming more and more like hard-rock tango and ends on me-do. Most of the cadences are IAC, with me-do in the soprano, and are delayed. There are a lot of voices in this song that fight against each other; the strings and the solo violin, the two contrasting voices, different rhythms, and styles. More than anything, it is a piece of high tension, and is just another step in building up to the tragic and dramatic ending of The Moulin Rouge.

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