Thursday, April 14, 2005

"The Little Things You Do Together" from Company by Stephen Sondheim

I love this quirky little song. The song speaks about how marriage works nowadays, witty and sarcasticly wonderful (in other words, quintessential Sondheim). The music matches the lyrics, a little off kilter. It's in 4, but off beats are really stressed, and the ends of the verses are stretched out over long "mmmhmmmms" or "ahhhhh-haaaaaa". The song starts out as a solo, sung by Joanne, the drunken, blantently honest, cynical older woman of the show. Her gravelly, speech-like delivery works perfectly, since there are so many words. It really feels off because the low strings play an interesting rhythm (1...and 3 4) while the horns play on beat 4, accentuating the upbeat. The melody of the voice is rather simple, descending in sequence. When we get to the chorus ("it's not so hard to be married...") everything comes together and everything comes into sync. After the third verse we have a bridge section that brings in the full company. The accompaniment is the same as a verse but the melody changes (really just speak-singing) and we have this cool little echo effect on "the little things" then falling right into the 4th verse. We come to a full chorus this time, ending on Joanne's single final line: "It's not so hard to be married...I've done it three or four times". We have a final verse, once again stretching it out with the "mmmhmmmmms...kiss kiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiss..... ahhhhhhh haaaaaaaaaaaaa..." then just tied up in a final orchestral hit. Like most songs in Company this song is chocked full of personality. Basically, it takes both the good aspects and bad aspects and rolls them into one, saying that they all make marriage work.

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