Friday, September 9, 2011

End of line

I heard a lyricist talking about the words in a song affecting the sound, and she mentioned that Oscar Hammerstein (Rogers and...) had mentioned that one song from Carousel, What's the Use of Wondering? , had never "entered the repertoire" like so many of their songs did.  He attributed this to the ending. The last line is "and all the rest is talk," which ironically echoes Hamlet's last words ("The rest is silence").

Hammerstein thought perhaps the problem was that that last line ends on a hard consonant "k" following a short vowel: "talk". It can't really be lingered on or drawn out. In a song about "wondering," it doesn't lend itself to wondering. Too final. Too hard.



Sylvia said...

Have you seen Amanda Palmer's version? It's brought the song to a new generation, I think.

Alicia said...

Thanks for the link! It's a nice song, kind of lingering.