Musical Master Class 7 — How To Dramatize A Musical Song
Michael Kunze remembers Robert McKee’s words: “A scene without a change is not a scene.” The same can be said about a musical song: A song without a change is not a dramatic song.
“If you want to dramatize a musical song, you have to write it like a key scene with a built-in turning point.”
The song, “Ich gehör nur mir” (I belong to me), from the musical ELISABETH, depicts Elisabeth’s change from an insecure girl to a mature woman who knows what she wants. The girl leaves the stage after the first part of the song, and — following the instrumental middle part — she returns as the woman. To underscore this change, Michael even asked his composer, Sylvester Levay, to set the second half of the song in a lower key.
In a key scene, there is one emotional state at the beginning, and a different one at the end. In the center is the turning point, and that’s where the key song should be placed, as well. To support the change in the scene, this musical song also contains a dramatic turning point.
Toward the end of this video installment, Dr. Kunze lays out an entire diagram of a drama musical…
This video clip contains Elisabeth’s key song, “I belong to me” (starting at 3:50)