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

Updated on April 20, 2016

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'.

Instrumentation

- 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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    • 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
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      Anthropophobia 4 years ago

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

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      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
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      Anthropophobia 4 years ago

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

      Good luck in the exam!

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      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
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      Anthropophobia 4 years ago

      No problem!

      Good luck!

    • Anthropophobia profile image
      Author

      Anthropophobia 4 years ago

      Haha, you're welcome.

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      joseph 4 years ago

      you are pretty

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      alex 3 years ago

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

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      anon 3 years ago

      thank you

      bless you

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      Derry 2 years ago

      Sweet analyis!

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      will fielding 2 years ago

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

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      Anna 2 years ago

      Thank Christ for you

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      Alex 23 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

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      Jake 20 months ago

      You just saved my skin

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      Nelson 14 months ago

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

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      Kyla 8 months ago

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

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      Oli 4 months 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

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      Joe 4 months 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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      callum 4 weeks ago

      helped too much thx

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