Scoring Loss in a Contemporary New Zealand Musical
Keywords:Musical analysis, Style, Musical Theatre, Practice Based Research, Sound, Orchestration
This paper functions as an exegesis of a recent New Zealand musical, Mum’s Kitchen. The show was a creative practice research project and involved a collaborative writing/composition process with a team of four creatives. The article explores explore the confluence of musical voices within the work with a focus on the distinct musical choices made in relation to particular narrative themes. Taking a cue from Murphy (2014), we analyse the songs in Mum’s Kitchen that directly express loss and nostalgia. We suggest that the two composers have their own strategies for “scoring” this theme: use of “anachronistic” styles (such as a country ballad) to evoke a past era, and a collection of contemporary harmonic devices (open chord voicings, harmonic ambiguity) that evoke emptiness and uncertainty. We then argue that [author] as orchestrator both unified these voices through a consistent sound palette, while also emphasising these themes through his sonic choices.
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