Sound And Music In Tennessee Williams A Streetcar Named Desire

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The Use of Sounds and Music in Tennessee Williams play A Streetcar Named Desire

Tennessee Williams (1911-1983) was born in Mississippi but moved to New Orleans at the age of 28. There he found the inspiration for his play A Streetcar Named Desire. The play is set in New Orleans and incorporates the atmosphere of the setting particularly through music. Williams use of vivid music in this play heightens themes such as madness and social differences. In this essay I am going to verify how Williams uses sounds and music as a tool to develop the plot, more specifically how it shows Blanche’s lost grip of reality.
A distinct sound throughout the play is a musical piece referred to as the “Blue Piano” playing from the nearby saloon. The song functions much like a score would in a movie. It is a form of mood setter. The music is deliberate and does not occur in every scene but rather in intense situations, for instance in scene 1 when Blanche and Stella discusses the loss of Belle Reve (Mays 1784). The “Blue Piano” is introduced in the first stage direction, setting the tone for the genre of the play, a tragedy, since it brings up connotations to the idiom “feeling blue”, an unhappy state of mind. The "Blue Piano" is an ambiguous sound and it is unclear of how its actual sound. In the stage directions it is mostly described with adjectives such as being “blue” or “loud”, without given an actual description of the sound itself. There are exceptions where Williams describes drums
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