West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) Flashcards Preview

History 1 > West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) > Flashcards

Flashcards in West Side Story (Leonard Bernstein) Deck (26):
1

date

1957

2

genre

musical theatre

3

source of plot

Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet

4

Librettist

Arthur Laurents (playwright) and Stephen Sondheim (lyricist)

5

Choreographer

Jerome Robbins

6

Film

directed by Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins (1961)

7

plot summary

Maria and Tony (from rival gangs) fall in love at a dance. Tony (a Jet) kills Bernardo (Maria's brother, a Shark). In the final scene, Tony is stabbed.

8

Maria: character singing

Tony (tenor)

9

Maria: setting

outside the gym, after the dance

10

Maria: key

B major, E flat major

11

Maria: time signature

C

12

Maria: introduction

melody opens with chant-like intonation suggesting Tony's worshipful adoration. Repeated D-sharps supported by modal harmony and free rhythm

13

Maria: verse

tritone on "Maria" - this angular motif runs throughout, conveying strife, yearning, and star-crossed love. melody traces a broad arc before returning to opening theme

14

Maria: orchestration

lush strings doubling voice part, timpani used to heighten musical climaxes

15

America: character singing

Anita (mezzo-soprano), Rosalia (soprano), and other Puerto Rican girls

16

America: setting

an alley behind Bernardo and Maria's house

17

America: summary

Rosalia expresses homesickness for Puerto Rico, Anita declares her love for Manhattan. Lyrics extol both virtues and false promises of The American Dream

18

America: form/structure

Intro + Verse-Chorus structure

19

America: key signature

Intro: 2 flats, ambiguous tonality (modal inflections in melodic lines). Chorus etc: C major

20

America: instrumentation

claves (wood blocks) and guiro establish Latin ambience with cross-rhythms and rhythmic ostinato. Spanish guitar and celesta provide undulating lines in parallel thirds in rising and falling triplets.

21

America: Intro

Rosalia (long phrases and free rhythm convey yearning and nostalgia)(doubled by flute), and Anita (acerbic response)(doubled by oboe)

22

America: word painting

breezes (glissandi on string harmonics and arched motive based on whole tone scale)

23

America: Chorus

sudden jazzy modulations. short syncopated phrases (A-me-ri-ca), call and response pattern.

24

America: hemiola

choruses and verses alternate 6/8 and 3/4 pattern, establishing hemiola effect

25

America: verse-chorus instrumentation

latin = guitar, claves, maracas

26

review and reflection

jazz influence, use of modal scales (maria?)