Musical Deconstruction from the Piano

1542 Words7 Pages
Deconstruction The Piano was a dramatic movie made in 1993 about a mute pianist called Ada, and her young daughter. It was set during the mid-19th century, in the wild and recently populated (by Europeans) west coast of New Zealand. The music in this film is very descriptive of the characters, emotion, time and place and helps to tell the story and has been done so through the manipulation of the musical elements especially compositional devices from melody, harmony, dynamics and duration. The movie features a score for the piano written by Michael Nyman. This is fitting as the movie’s story line centres around Ada’s love for her piano. The piece by Michael Nyman is played in the movie scene where Ada finds out that she cannot take her piano with her to her new home and instead she has to leave it on the beach, where it could be ruined by the waves and elements. Michael Nyman used the piano as the main instrument to characterise the dramatic theme, the wild and unforgiving nature of the place where the movie was set and the raw and intense emotions of the characters, particularly Ada. The use of thematic material throughout the movie was used to create and define emotion and provide description of Ada. This was particularly important as Ada does not speak, and therefore the music was in effect advising the audience of her feelings and moods. The music has an acoustic feel from the piano as it reflects the age and time period in which this movie is set, as well as the English character and her daughter that it is helping to depict. The harmony is based on a broken chord accompaniment in the left hand, but is also accompanied by the subtle added chordal notes played in the right hand behind the melody. There are two instruments playing in this piece, the main melody is played on the piano, while towards the end of the work, a drone like violin part is
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