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.
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.