Thursday, 10 January 2013

Talk about democracy

Track: Talk about democracy


(Click song name to listen on soundloud)

Album: The Exile, concept album recording
Artist: Eric Swardt

In the second song of the musical. and also the second song on the concept album recording, we are developing our story further. In the opening song we have established the time and place. We also introduced the audience to our characters. At this stage you do not know who these characters are yet. We hinted to Pamela and her son, Tyler and we had a reference to Tyler's father, Hugo, as the hero of the story. Now we want to develop our characters a bit more.

In this song we are getting into the specifics. We are introduced in detail to Tyler and Anthony.

While we talk about democracy, let's talk about song form. This song is what I would call a conflict song. Though not all musicals have it, it is not completely uncommon. The purpose of a conflict song is to establish conflict. All good musicals have some conflict. There are many ways to establish this conflict. Here we are doing it in a dialogue manner. It is very common in new age musicals to use a song for characters to talk to each other. Some sung-through musicals makes liberally use of recitative to sing-talk through dialogue. This musical is not a sung-through, but it does have some recitative. Here we have opted not for recitative, but for another variation, i.e. the dialogue song. This is where the characters address each other, but through a formally composed and structured song.

The song is a standard AABA song form (The AABA refers to the melody structures). The form is repeated with another AABA and then we've added a coda, or C section at the end, giving us the full AABA AABA C form for this song.

Enough about the technical songwriting stuff. Now about the song. As mentioned, this is a conflict song with Tyler and Anthony. Here we develop the characters further. First we start with Tyler. He has been for an unsuccessful job interview.

"People talk about democracy
and all the wonders that elections bring
but I can not even find a job
Is this just a hypocrisy?"

Next we have Anthony chipping in. Anthony is living in Pamela's house. He does not have a job. He is a real slob, and is negative about anything.

"So what do you want from democracy
Do you want me to wipe your ass"

Tyler immediately answers back. He is telling us that he does not regard Anthony as any authority, even though he is living in the house with his mother.

"Oh well you are one to criticise
You do not have any class"

Tyler continues into the next verse. He tells us that he still have some hope for this democracy to work out fine:

"They promised us a better life
It is all not just a scam"

Next we have Tyler and Anthony agreeing on something at least. They both see where the problem with this new democracy lies:

"Politicians just want your vote
but they don't give a damn"

Tyler (with the rest of the company in chorus) then takes the character development further. They are telling us that they are not content with the situation. They takes control of their problems. Our purpose here is not to tell the audience what the res of the night's story is about, but rather to establish Tyler's character. Unlike Tony, who just complains about everything, he takes responsibility and declares his loyalty towards the country.

"I can not stand this anymore
We must find a way to end this strife
Our fathers brought us this democracy
I must protect it with my own life"

Now we are getting into the real conflict. We have established Tyler as a strong character. Now we have Tony swearing at him and telling him what he thinks of him. He obviously have no love for Tyler, whom he regards as a little brat.

"Tyler you big mouth and brainless fool
You do not know what is going on
and you think you are the one
but you are really not so cool"

Then Tony continues to tell us how negative he is. Unlike Tyler, who takes responsibility, Tony just moans and blames everybody else.

"and it is not safe to walk the streets
The filth is lying all around our feet
This town is lying in the ditch
Politicians are getting rich"

Now we have Tony continuing and telling us some more about Tyler's father. In the opening song we have already talked about him as the hero. Now we have Tony's viewpoint.

"Your father left you in this strife
and made a run for his life
and you will follow in his trail
In your life you will fail"

This is totally the opposite from what Pamela told us about Tyler's father. This confirms Tony as a negative slob, but also confirms that he is in conflict with everybody else, i.e. Tyler, Pamela and Tyler's father. Some of you would be able to see now how we are setting up an important plot element here.

Next we have Tyler again. He is now angry:

"I can not stand this anymore"

He is tells Tony that he is hurt by those words.

"Your tongue is cutting like a knife"

Then we have him giving us HIS view on his father. We now have hinted about Tyler's father a few times. We have done this through giving three different viewpoints about this man. By now we have also hinted clearly to who the exile is. After all. This is a story about an exile and we want to know more about him.

"I know my father left me on my own
to break out and find a better life"

In the last verse we are developing a plot point further. Tyler is angry. He is telling Tony that he will fight back. This is also moving the story line further. Musical writers talks about the "I am" and "I want" songs. here we have opted for the "I am" by developing the characters through the song. Now we establish the "I want" clearly. Tyler wants to get rid of Tony! This is what the rest of the night is all about.

"One day you'll fall
There shall be no one to share your load
or cry a tear for you
as your blood flows down the road"

In the nest song we will go into the backstory of the song. Who is this man we are talking about. Why did he leave us? Where did he left us to?

Untill next song!


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