Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Lovers' Duets - The Separated Lovers

Luke discusses how to construct a separated duet.
In a separated duet the two lovers are singing the same song at the same time they are just, well, separated. This style of duet can be used on the downward swing on the Lovers emotional arc and usually has a torch song quality. The trick to this duet is that they are both singing about the same event or emotion but from different points of view. This is useful as it allow two reflections on the same situation at the same time.

Once again the trick to this is how you use the chorus, and often times it works well as a simple repeated line. While Summer Nights from Grease is more of an upbeat song, in tempo and tone, it does provide a good example of the same scenario being told from different point of views, but coming together in the end. Danny tells the story of their summer as a hot fling, focusing on the physical aspect of their time together while Sandy focuses on the wholesome aspects of their relationship. It works well because it sets up the characters and creates their point of conflict from that point on.

Theses songs will usually be performed in a major key, but may be more somber and low tempo. How it plays out will depend on the needs of the story and characters when the song comes up in the show.

Using a male and female character, a simple format might play like this

Female - Verse1
Female & Male - Chorus
Male - Verse 2
Female & Male - Chorus

Sometimes the chorus is split between the characters as shown below

Female - Verse 1
Female - Chorus Line 1 & 2
Male - Chorus Line 3 & 4
Male - Verse 2
Male - Chorus line 1 & 2
Male & Female - Chorus Line 3 & 4

Both formats work, but often the simple one will be more effective.

Where Have You Gone?

There was a good example of this in the rehearsals for Seven Brothers with Tristan and Amy. In the song Where Have You Gone Golly (Tristan Ham) is singing about the loss of his lake, which is all he sees as being interesting to Nancy (Amy Currie). Nancy is seeking someone who can control the weather to help it rain in her town but she does still reference Golly. While they were singing about different points of view they came together beautifully on a simple chorus, to show there was still a connection between the two.

Photo by Al Caeiro

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