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Will Matilda make it in NY?
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Author:  Hans [ Wed May 29, 2013 4:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

Mungojerrie_rt wrote:
You're forgetting accent and character voice.
Calculus and Miraculous both produce the same sound when spoken as children (and indeed, most adults are not concerned with such enunciation): "u-luss"


I don't understand what you mean. Granted, my first language is not English, but I really think it's pronounced "calculus" and miraculous", with the stress on ca and ra respectively. Accoring to the dfinition of rhyme, then, the sounds following them must be identical, which they are not (lculus and culus, to spell it out).

Mungojerrie_rt wrote:
I don't see how things like free/see/me are a problem. You call them simple, but that's rubbish. There is no reason to be pointlessly complicated, especially when all of the characters are children and/or lower class and poorly spoken.


Now I think you contradict youself. My point is exactly that it's better that the lyrics are simple (though unexciting), than pointlessly compolicated and imperfect!

I'm not saying simple rhymes are bad, only that they are very, very boring. And please take into consideration lyrics for other children and lower class in other musicals: Annie and Oliver! are natural comparisions. They use perfect rhymes (except those clumsy Oliver! rhymes I mentioned) as well as exiting rhymes while staying in character.

Do you think they are bad?

It mainly boils down to the fact that imperfect rhyme sounds bad, no matter how much in character the text is, since the pleasure of rhyme comes from the perfectness of the perfect rhyme and the complicatedness of the complicated, perfect rhyme.

Why is it so difficult to admit that the rhymes indeed are imperfect, it's just that the imperfectness doesn not affect to your personal enjoyment of the show?

Author:  Mama Rose [ Wed May 29, 2013 9:11 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

I gotta say I actually agree with Mungojerrie on this one. There has to be a more important reason for intensely complicated lyrics in a musical other than because it simply sounds good, or because the writer wants to show off his linguistic talent. Otherwise it's pure glibness. The characters in Matilda are not highly sophisticated people, therefore it makes no sense for them to be going off like Fredrik in A Little Night Music. Personally I think the lyrics in Matilda have a lot more personality and bite than the ones in Annie. Matilda is dark, quirky and poignant, whereas Annie generally doesn't go for more than sentimentality. Miss Hannigan is the only aspect of the show that has real snap and color.

(Nonetheless, the calculus/miraculous rhyme is a perfectly legitimate one. The rhyme is in the "cal-culus" and "mira-culous". They may not not be spelled similarly but the second half of it sounds exactly the same. In fact the different spelling makes the rhyme work better because of the surprise element.)

The Sondheimian "Less is More" motto comes to mind. Simple does not necessarily equal banal. Sometimes a simple rhyme is more effective than a complicated one. Passion, for instance, doesn't contain a single elaborate rhyme. If it did it would dilute the emotion of the story, or worse, become grandiloquent. I think the show is anything but boring. In fact I think it contains some of the most powerful, emotionally honest lyrics he's ever written:


For now I'm seeing love like none I've ever known.
A love as pure as breath,
As permanent as death,
Implacable as stone.
A love that, like a life,
Has cut into a life I wanted left alone.
A love I may regret,
But one I can't forget . . .

I don't know how I let you so far inside my mind.
But there you are and there you will stay,
How could I ever wish you away?
I see now I was blind
And should you die tomorrow,
Another thing I see.
Your love will live in me.


Author:  Hans [ Wed May 29, 2013 9:32 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

Mama Rose wrote:
I gotta say I actually agree with Mungojerrie on this one. The characters in Matilda are not highly sophisticated people, therefore it makes no sense for them to be going off like Fredrik in A Little Night Music.


What about the maid Petra, the insipid Philia and Hero, the Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd or even the uneducated Mme Rose? Are their lyrics less in character as the rhymes are perfect?

Mama Rose wrote:
(Nonetheless, the calculus/miraculous rhyme is a perfectly legitimate one. The rhyme is in the "cal-culus" and "mira-culous". They may not not be spelled similarly but the second half of it sounds exactly the same. In fact the different spelling makes the rhyme work better because of the surprise element.)


I really think you are wrong here. The definition of perfect rhyme states that there must be identical sound from and including the vowel in last emphasised syllable, and there must be variation in the consonant before that vowel.

If miraculous and calculous were pronounced "miraculous" and "calculus" (which it must to make the ryme work the way you say it should), it woyld nevertheless be an identity, not a perfect rhyme, as the consonant before the vowel in the last emphasised syllable would lack the necessary variation: both have the c sound.

Mama Rose wrote:
Simple does not necessarily equal banal. Sometimes a simple rhyme is more effective than a complicated one. Passion, for instance, doesn't contain a single elaborate rhyme. If it did it would dilute the emotion of the story, or worse, become grandiloquent. I think the show is anything but boring.


As usual, I feel the need to repeat things I already have written. I still don't think simple rhymes are bad as such, which the song you quote prove.

But the difference between Sondheim and Tim Minchin is that when Sondheim writes simple rhymes, we are aware that he is capable of writing extremely complicated ones and chooses the simple alternatives for a reason, while Minchin doesn nothing in Matilda but trying to write extremely intricate rhymes and fails miserably since almost all of them are imperfect rhymes. So when he writes simple rhymes, it doesn not sound like he is writing simple on purpose, it sounds like he is writing simple because that's all he's capable of.

Mama Rose wrote:
Personally I think the lyrics in [...]Annie generally doesn't go for more than sentimentality.


Personally, I think the sentimentality in Annie is overrated. Songs like Herbert Hoover, Easy Street and Something Was Missing really contributes grit in my opinion, whereas Hard Knock Life has scared people from orphanages for years.

Matilda, however, has the corny When I Grow Up, whose awkward sentimentality alone overruns any grit the show otherwise may have.

Author:  Mama Rose [ Wed May 29, 2013 11:02 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

The Hard Knock Life number is pretty cutesy. The kids in Annie rarely seem like more than perky, professional kids. When I Grow Up sounds much more like the kind of thing that a real child would say, the longing to escape the trappings of childhood and be in charge of your own life and circumstances. I can't think of a single child or adult who has ever been scared away from an orphanage by Annie. I don't know what musicals are like in Norway, but here in America, the show has over the years become the epitome of squeaky clean, wholesome family entertainment. Miss Trunchbull, on the other hand, is one of the most frightening, imposing characters ever in a musical. Bertie Carvel's characterization is downright scary.


Quote:
nothing in Matilda but trying to write extremely intricate rhymes and fails miserably since almost all of them are imperfect rhymes.


There may be an imperfect line here and there but most of the rhymes in the show work. "This school of late has started reeking, quiet, maggots, when I'm speaking!" Brilliant.

Also:


For children who aren't listening,
For midgets who are fidgeting
And whispering in history,
Their chattering and chittering,
Their nattering and twittering,
Is tempered with a smattering of
Discipline.

We must begin insisting
On rigidity and discipline,
Persistently resisting
This anarchistic mischieving.



All perfectly good rhymes. Also, Matilda's score is just plain better than Annie's. Although Annie clearly leads an unhappy life, the show has very little edge. The music is mostly bright and sunny.... not that that's bad, but the songs in Matilda have much more texture. All in all I think it's just a much more adventurous, intelligent musical. Annie is cute and fun, but not much else. The only really clever song in the show is "Little Girls."

Author:  Hans [ Wed May 29, 2013 12:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

Mama Rose wrote:
I can't think of a single child or adult who has ever been scared away from an orphanage by Annie. I don't know what musicals are like in Norway, but here in America, the show has over the years become the epitome of squeaky clean, wholesome family entertainment.


Yes, it was pointless of me to defed a show I don't really care that much about (when that is said, it was quite a commotion when Annie and Oliver played back to back in Norway, as both shows actually scared children very much of the orphanage institutions in Norway).

What I should have said is that grittiness (as little as perfect rhymes) equals a good show, and that imperfect rhymes doesn't equal grittiness either.

Mama Rose wrote:
For children who aren't listening,
For midgets who are fidgeting
And whispering in history,
Their chattering and chittering,
Their nattering and twittering,
Is tempered with a smattering of
Discipline.

We must begin insisting
On rigidity and discipline,
Persistently resisting
This anarchistic mischieving.



All perfectly good rhymes.


Which? I can only spot chattering/nattering/smattering and chittering/twittering. Seriously. The rest are at best identities as insisting/resisting/persist- or almost rhymes as whisp-/hist-

All draw much attention to their imperfectness.

Please believe me, I'm not trying to be snotty here, I just enjoy a good argument, But you really have me bevildered here :|

Author:  Mama Rose [ Wed May 29, 2013 12:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

Quote:
I can only spot chattering/nattering/smattering and chittering/twittering. Seriously. The rest are at best identities as insisting/resisting/persist- or almost rhymes as whisp-/hist-


Midget and fidget rhyme perfectly. Insist, resist and persist.... "in", "re" and "per" are variations that preclude the "sist". There's just a general theme of "-ing" throughout the song which is preceded by different consonants that work. And I wasn't under the impression that whispering and history were supposed to be rhymes in the first place.


I also don't think grittiness automatically equals a good show.... it does for certain shows, but for others it doesn't. Passion, as I mentioned earlier, is an example of a musical that I think benefits more from a lyrical approach rather than a dark, gothic one, as is evidenced by the revival that closed just last month.

Author:  Hans [ Wed May 29, 2013 12:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Will Matilda make it in NY?

Mama Rose wrote:
Midget and fidget rhyme perfectly.


True.

Mama Rose wrote:
Insist, resist and persist.... "in", "re" and "per" are consonant variations that preclude the "sist".


No, because the s sound is the consonant precluding the vowel in the last emphasised syllable, which is "ist". It is that s that makes those indentities instead of perfect rhymes.

Mama Rose wrote:
I wasn't under the impression that whispering and history were supposed to be rhymes in the first place.


It's really difficult to tell! There are so many other instances of identities and other near-rhymes in the show - it's exactly an example of how these lyrics drive me nuts!

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