Thursday, May 31, 2012

Attention Whovians!

Good news everyone.  I've found him.  The Master.  It's been some time (and a regeneration, as well) since we saw him having a wee bit of fisticuffs with our friend the Doctor, but I think I'm onto his scent...or, well...his sound.  And I'll tell you where he is lurking, but first a vaguely related example (that is potentially the most interesting part of this blog post.)

I have a bit of a background in music and a bit of a background in poetry, but mostly I have a passion for both.  A recurring rhythm here, a parallel syllabic pattern there, I want to find them.  I can't help but find them.  I love them.  Occasionally, the artist even put them there on purpose.  Which brings me to my vaguely related example:

We begin with the very first rhythm from the very first song of the wonderful musical In the Heights, by Lin-Manuel Miranda.  Just listen to the first 10 seconds or so.

If you happened to accidentally listen to the song through to the end, I won't blame you.  The syncopated rhythm throws you into the show.  Its intoxicating.  It has a Latin feel to it, because it is a Latin rhythm. To my ears (having not taken Music Theory, I admit) it is the core Latin rhythm.  Three against two.  Simple.  Wonderful.  Welcome to Washington Heights.

Now, let's move on to another musical.  The beautiful, the classic, West Side Story.  Laurents, Bernstein, and Sondheim.  Not the beginning of the show, but the beginning of a song.  Another song that pulls us into the folds of a specific group of people. Turn that volume up at about 2:05 and listen for the percussion.
Ha!  Coincidence?  Let's just say that Miranda made clear his affections for Sondheim in his Tony Award acceptance speech.  I mean, come on.  There is absolutely no way this wasn't a beautiful sort of tribute by Miranda.  I love it.  A little bit of repeated rhythm tells an entire story. I love finding things like this.

I even love finding things that are completely unintentional and unrelated, and that is how I found the Master.  This morning.  While watching previews before my second viewing of the Avengers.  In the Prometheus trailer.  It'll hit you at about 15 seconds.

Now...was the composer of this score a Whovian at heart?  Possibly.  But I doubt it influenced his steady stream of four beats.  I myself couldn't help but hear a certain pattern and think of Doctor Who.
That probably says more about me than it does about Prometheus or Marc Streitenfeld.  Of course, I'd like to think it also says something about the power of a simple repeated rhythm.  Or a repeated simple rhythm.

Any patterns out there that you can't seem to escape?  Let me know.



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