Thursday, March 31, 2005

"Home" from Beauty and the Beast

"Home" From Beauty and the Beast. Music by Alan Menken, Lyrics by Tim Rice.

Belle has just made a deal with the Beast that she will be his prisoner if he lets her father go, and she sings this song.
It starts out in a minor key, with a very speech like melody. It is mostly stepwise, and the rhythm is just as if you were speaking the words, which is nice for dramatic effect. The accompaniment basically just serves the purpose of supporting the vocal line, and it moves rhythmically with the melody. It is very lyrical, and the music sounds like you would expect something that is in a Disney musical to sound.
When the refrain begins, the key changes to a major key. The melody starts being sung more than spoken. The accompaniment isn't really very exciting... mostly just arpeggiated chords or block chords... but the melody is great. It sits right in the middle of the voice, which is where most musical theatre singers like a song to sit. Because of this, she is able to belt it. The tempo has picked up a little bit, and it is a little bit louder than when the song first began.
Nothing really changes until the bridge, which is my favorite part of the whole song. Up to this point, she has been fairly reserved, and just singing. But here, she gets really passionate, and the music is really passionate. The dynamic is now forte, and the melody is a lot higher than it was before. The accompaniment does a lot more now... the chords are more full, and everything is more complex. Because she is belting higher pitches... and because it's louder... and just the wonderful way the vocalist puts her whole self into the song here is just wonderful.
After the bridge is a modulation to a higher key of course. The refrain returns, and at the end of the refrain, everything slows way down and becomes quiet again, just like at the beginning. It is much more reflective than emotive as she sings, "my heart's far, far way... home, and free." She really takes her time singing the last line.... so it's really touching. The last note is pretty high, and it is sung with a very light, almost breathy quality. She holds it while the orchestra plays arpeggiated chords underneath her, and then the song ends on a great full rolled chord.

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