GCSE Analysis of "Something's Coming" by Leonard Bernstein

Something's Coming General Points

-Composed by Leonard Bernstein
- A song from the musical 'West Side Story', which is a musical based on Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet'.
- First Performed on Broadway in 1957.
- Sung by solo tenor voice, 'Tony'.


- Solo tenor voice.
- Accompanied by a chamber orchestra consisting of woodwind, brass, percussion and strings.
- Quiet dynamics, soft timbres, the use of mutes, pizzicato and a clear homophonic texture are used to make sure that instruments don't overpower the voice.
- The music illustrates the words, for instance when he sings 'the air is humming'.
- Harmonies and tremolo are used in the strings.
- the instruments often imitate each other, usually at different octaves.

Leonard Bernstein.
Leonard Bernstein.

Melody and Structure

- The piece is almost entirely syllabic and based on the following 3 main themes:
1) A quiet, syncopated opening theme.
2) A loud, strident theme in the metre 2/4 that starts at bar 21.
3) A lyrical, slow-moving theme that starts at bar 73.
- The themes are repeated a number of times but are varied each time by Bernstein.
- Bernstein changes things such as the metre or words each time a theme is heard.

Rhythm, Metre and Tempo

- Metre changes between 2/4 and 3/4.
- Changes of metre, a fast tempo and the use of a lot of syncopation maintains a feeling of excitement and anticipation.
- Use of cross-rhythms throughout (for example in the intro).
- Accompaniment is made up of an off-beat bassline, which constantly pushes forward a 'push rhythm', and offbeat chords.

Harmony And Tonality

- Written in D Major although there are 2 contrasting sections in C Major (heard in bars 32-72 and 106-127)
- Use of tritone which is an interval of 3 whole tones, e.g. C-F#.
- Last note of the entire piece is a flattened 7th which remains unsolved and creates a feeling of incompletion.
- The harmony is jazz influenced.

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Comments 19 comments

collegatariat profile image

collegatariat 4 years ago

How interesting! I love West Side Story, and you did a great job of musical analysis that was enjoyable to read. Thanks for sharing!

Anthropophobia profile image

Anthropophobia 4 years ago Author

I love West Side Story too, definitely my favourite musical! Thank you! :)

Lauren 4 years ago

Thanks a lot for this analysis, I am taking my Music GCSE in two days and this is REALLY helpful.

Anthropophobia profile image

Anthropophobia 4 years ago Author

No problem! I'm glad that you found it useful. :) I'm taking mine on Monday too.

Good luck in the exam!

Olly 4 years ago

Thank you for doing this! I'm panicking and writing out section B answers for everything as we speak and these pages are really useful for including things I'd almost completely forgotten.. Thanks again :)

Anthropophobia profile image

Anthropophobia 4 years ago Author

No problem!

Good luck!

Anthropophobia profile image

Anthropophobia 4 years ago Author

Haha, you're welcome.

joseph 3 years ago

you are pretty

alex 2 years ago

life saver, i would be completely lost without these pages, thx soooo much

anon 2 years ago

thank you

bless you

Derry 2 years ago

Sweet analyis!

will fielding 2 years ago

absolutely love this website, has helped me so much thank you!

Anna 21 months ago

Thank Christ for you

Alex 19 months ago

Very useful source of information, however for the exam we need 2 points for texture so another point could have been added for texture

Jake 16 months ago

You just saved my skin

Nelson 10 months ago

You are an absolute legend, thank you very much. It's been 3 years and you're still saving people.

Kyla 4 months ago

I take my GCSE music in a week and these pages are really helpful. Thank you for making them

Oli 3 weeks ago

It's not too difficult to write articles like this if all you'really doing is rewording what it says in the revision guide

Joe 2 days ago

Yeah, that may be Oli. But it will still help. And in some cases people may not have access to a revision guide so this could be a lifesaver.

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