Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Unusual Way"

"Unusual Way" from the Broadway musical Nine. Music and lyrics by Maury Yeston. Performed by Linda Eder on her CD, "It's Time".

Throughout high school, Linda Eder was my favorite singer. Since then, my tastes have changed slightly, but I still love her rendition of "Unusual Way." She has a way of giving music her own special touches that make whatever song she records uniquely hers.
The song is in a minor key, and the sound is very haunting. This haunting feeling is created by the chord progression. For the first 4 measures, it is nothing but i VI i VI i VI i. After this point, the progression becomes more interesting, but the VI chord remains prominent throughout the song.
The song is strophic, like most musical theatre songs are, but nothing ever happens to make it more interesting. There is no shift in tonality, the tempo doesn't change, nothing. At the refrain, the denisty increases, but that is about it. The melody is very pop sounding, mostly stepwise and pretty straight forward as far as rhythm goes.
As I said before, Linda Eder adds her own style to just about everything she sings. At the end of the piece, she improvises in a very high register as the orchestra finishes up the piece. The shift in register adds to the haunting feeling, and the improvisation really creates a sense of finality.

1 comment:

Scott Spiegelberg said...

I have had the pleasure of meeting Maury Yeston several times (and playing for him). He now lives in my parents' hometown, and attends the same church. At one point when I was in college I played the solo trumpet for a piece he wrote for the church choir. It wasn't bad, though it still had remnants of musical theater (and of the adequate kind, not the extroadinary kind).