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Sweeney Todd Lyric Question 
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Post Sweeney Todd Lyric Question
I always wondered why Sondheim used the line "Sweeney heard music that nobody heard in The Ballad of Sweeney Todd:

"In conspicuous Sweeney was,
Quick and quite and clean 'e was.
Back of his smile, under his word,
Sweeney heard music that nobody heard"

Does anyone know why he did this?


Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:01 am
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Perhaps it was an implication to the mental distress that his obsessions caused him.

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Tue Dec 22, 2009 9:14 am
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What is "back of his smile" can't be seen by others. What is "under his word" can't be heard. I see this as Sondheim saying what Sweeney hid from society is very off-beat and unlike anyone else - not socially acceptable.

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Tue Dec 22, 2009 3:29 pm
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Young Hoofer
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I always thought it was talking about is clever nature and the fact that he might be slightly insane.

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Last edited by iLovett on Tue Mar 16, 2010 5:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Mar 12, 2010 5:31 pm
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I agree with the second reply - Sweeney is 'different' and unlike anyone else, he doesn't think like the average person. (I don't think it is necessarily mental illness or literally hearing things that don't exist).


Fri Mar 12, 2010 6:16 pm
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I always assumed it was meant as a way of applauding Sweeney's "cleverness" etc. as the chorus is kind of deranged and egging him on...

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Sat Mar 13, 2010 6:17 am
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