"My Friends" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in "My Friends" from Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street Deck (11)
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In writing this compelling work, Sondheim drew on the French ____________ tradition of ___________. Mixed together with a healthy dose of _____, the music tells the story of _______________. Sweeney Todd, a ________ in ____ London, is determined to ____________.

In writing this compelling work, Sondheim drew on the French Grand Guignol tradition of tehatrical horror. Mixed together with a healthy dose of broad comedy, the music tells the story of one man's all consuming thirst ofr ustice. Sweeny Todd, a hapless barber in Victorian era london, is determined to kill the sinister judge who destroyed his family.


Briefly summarize the plot of Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Sweeny Todd is a hackneyed vigilante seeking justice for the ruination of his family by an unfair judge. He forms an alliance with his landlady, Mrs. Lovett, and the two set out to kill all who get in the way of his vengeful quest. Todd kills his victims while shaving them in his barber shop. Mrs. Lovett uses the "meat" in her pies, which becomes a thriving business... Todd is eventually successful in his quest for revenge but at an enormous cost to himself and those close to him.


source of plot

based on the 1973 play Sweeney Todd by Christopher Bond, which was based on a legend that can be traced back to the 1700's.


Genre, Date, Structure

musical, 1979, two acts


Describe the key, form, and tempo of "My friends". What is interesting about the time signature?

modal (opens in B flat dorian). the form is A(solo), and A1 duet, and the tempo is Misterioso. The time signature frequently changes meter.


What happens during the song "My Friends"?

Mrs. Lovett has kept Sweeney's razors hidden for many years hoping that she could return them to him when he was released from the Australian prison. In this scene she presents them to him. Mrs. Lovett reveals her feelings to Todd, but he is too in love with the razors to notice.


Describe the introduction of "My Friends"

delicate chimes suggest the glint of the blade
an undulating ostinato establishes a dark mood. Fun fact: this introduction is repeated by the orchestra until cued that the actor is ready to begin singing ( a "safety" passage)


Describe section A of "my friends". Which song is quoted here, and why? Describe it's usage.

the first 4 notes of the melody are an inverted fragment of the Dies irae (Day of Judgement), a chant taken from the Catholic mass for the dead.
Quotations of the Dies irae occur throughout the score.
This quotation is appropriate because in this song Todd expresses his sense of entitlement to judge and punish those who have wronged him.


Describe section A1 of "my friends". How does the music change when the duet part is added? Describe the musical differences in the characters' singing and how this reflects their personalities.

Part A1 moves up by a semitone to build excitement.
Sweeny's melody is the same, and Mrs. Lovett's vocal part is added overtop. The unchanged music of Sweeney's part depicts that he does not really notice her.
Mrs. Lovett's countermelody is more rhythmically active, suggesting her nervousness and skittish nature.


in "my friends" section A1, which lines are sung together by the characters?

"warm in m hand", and "splendours you never dreamed of" are sung in unison. This creates irony because they are both talking about different things and unaware of the other's meaning.


How does section A of "my friends" build, and which words are emphasized?

the melody begins in the low register and builds upward. It emphasizes the words "home" and "friends".