Thursday, 16 June 2011 08:41

I Want It All . . . Featured

Written by  Evan Watkins
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(The title is from a musical; 10 points if you can guess which one)

Wizard of Oz

What's a musical without some driving force? What's the point of watching a musical where the character's have no motivation? What's with that line that keeps repeating itself at the beginning or end of each verse? 

Well today I will be talking about the glory that is Want Songs. Want Songs are essential for musical improv, especially narrative musical improv, they set up the protagonist's (the hero) journey throughout the show. Where would we be if Ariel never wanted to be "Part of Your World" or if Eliza Doolittle was content to sell flowers on the street the rest of her life, or even if a little red haired orphan never envisioned a better life? We'd be stuck at the beginning with no reason to go forward. Every character needs motivation, they need a reason for us to be watching them onstage. 

What about that line that keeps repeating itself at the end of each verse? That's a tag line song. Much like a verse/chorus song there is a repeated element, some people will say to load the "Game" into tag or verse, but for now, we're just going to focus on repeating it and making it stronger. A tag is a repeated line or word at either the beginning of a verse (front line tag) or the end of a verse (tag). The tag usually convey's the emotion of the song. So let's explore a tag line want song shall we? 

This is the song we learned about tag line songs with so what kind of person would I be if I didn't use this song too. 

Somewhere, Over The Rainbow

Somewhere over the rainbow  - this is the tag of the song, it contains the general sentiment of longing 
Way up high,
There's a land that I heard of
Once in a lullaby.

If you notice here she's singing about a place where it's better than the dusty ass farm in Kansas where she lives. 

Somewhere over the rainbow
Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream
Really do come true.

In this place that she's dreaming of, all your dreams come true. She really wants to go there, if you haven't noticed. 

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far
Behind me.
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops
That's where you'll find me.

In the bridge of a want song, you usually sing about what life will be like once you finally get what you want. Here she sings about once she gets over the rainbow she'll have no troubles (little does she know!)

Somewhere over the rainbow
Bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow.
Why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little bluebirds fly
Beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

If you notice when she ends the song, since it was a front-line tag, she sings the last lines of the verse repeated. This is fairly common, but if it's a group number with a tag, you should try to end on your tag so that you can all sing it together. 

Check out this tag line song from a DT show - All I Care About Is . . . 

Last modified on Thursday, 16 June 2011 18:44

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Alex Decaneas

Alex Decaneas is THEDEEK

Alex Decaneas is an actor, improviser, editor, writer, and opens tough lids. He performs with numerous improv teams throughout NYC, writes sketch, edits films, teaches and coaches improv, and wears director’s hats. He’d love to work with you on your upcoming project. Give him a shout.