Luna Cottis, 24 January 2015

(rough draft )As a singer/composer/ musician I am very interested in the use of music

in performance and the role it has in creating an “experience”.

We began talking about musical theatre and its “sound”. Does musical theatre have to

sound like that ? What other roles can music have and what are the other ways that

theatre can be musical ?

Someone mentioned a performance in which a drum could be played all the time, and

this would mean that when it stopped it would be very powerful. In this way silence

becomes the act of significance. The “Alice” by Tom Waits was mentioned; it carries a

script which has not been acted out as far as we know.

Tom Waits and Robbin Wilson were also mentioned as a collaboration worthy of


It was said that the problem with musical theatre is that it tries to be too “real”, hence

the bursting into song can be awkward at times. Perhaps by indicating to the audience

that this isn't the real world, like opera, those forms of expression could be more

smooth. Warning the audience: “ This is going to be a bit weird.”

You could also turn it upside down and use the fact music is already present in our

everyday lives. So why not use this? Why not have actors interacting with these

everyday sounds in a musical way, football fans in the tube? characters walking

around shopping malls and changing the lyrics to hit tunes …

Although music is very powerful, it was said that the visual element of music, the

performance of it is also a crucial element of the experience.

There was a push for more dialogue between band/orchestra and actors during the

live performances. Circus was mentioned in which the band has to react constantly

and adapt their performance to that of the artists. Example of the drummer who has a

sound he makes when clowns fall.

The “dots on the page” were also mentioned, sheet music can sometimes be a barrier

to conveying the “root” of the music: the emotion.

Outdoor theatre and sound was mentioned. The example of opera in street

performance was said to be a very interesting approach, street performance music

does not always have to be joyful, or vaudeville like.

We went on to discuss method of compositions. My method is very much one of

repetition and cycles, looping different patterns and riffs and when there is one that I

like I repeat it a lot so as not to forget it. Another composer mentioned that when

composing he thought of: 1- composing a melody that musicians would like to play

2-composing a melody that the public would like to hear.

Someone mentioned their outdoor performance festival and ways in which sound,

sound scapes and music could act as a unifying factor.

All very interesting !!

Luna Silva.