Analysis Of West Side Story

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Similarly to Tonight from West Side Story, (as seen in the extract above) the beginning of the song is spoken. The inmates say, softly, almost seductively: “Pop…six…squish…cicero…lipshitz” This sets the mood of the song and immediately grabs the audience’s attention.
All That Jazz and Cell Block Tango from Chicago both exhibit influences from the jazz genre and are both up beat and simple melodically, compared to Maria and Tonight from West Side Story which are more like ballades with smooth flowing melodies and not many modulations. Tonight and Maria are also so different from each other in form, instrumentation and melody which show the diversity that Bernstein uses in West Side Story, as opposed to John Kander, who in Chicago tries to keep all the songs in the same style of jazz.
Therefore, compared to Chicago, because of Bernstein’s sheer diversity in the music and the way he is able to bridge the gap between classical and popular music as well as convey a serious message about gang violence through one brilliant production, West Side Story is a Landmark Production in the American Musical
The form of this song differs from Tonight in that the verses are spoken by the women, as they tell their stories and then everyone joins in for the chorus. The main theme is the melody of “He had it coming…” (as seen in the extract above ) and this repeats many times throughout the song.
This song also goes through modulations as it progresses, from Ab major to Gb minor and to G

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