Since yesterday, I tried to explain what negative emotions would be without joy, I decided to talk about the complete opposite today. I feel like it is loaded trying to describe why all negative emotions have joy involved.
Joy is a huge reason why I love feeling the negative emotions in a musical. I feel like there are different sides of joy in a musicals. There is your excitement, love, and joy when experiencing a musical and there are the actual moments of joy found within a musical. When I fall in love with a musical song, I tend to fall in love with the emotions themselves and I have joy when I feel sad or heartbreaking songs or bittersweet songs if I love the song itself.
There isn’t a single musical out there with just negative emotions. That just wouldn’t work in the world of musicals. Whether it was South Pacific, Wicked, Man of La Mancha, Beauty and the Beast, Newsies, Phantom of the Opera, West Side Story, Rent, and Les Mis, they all still deal with positive emotions even if they all have to put up with negative emotions. Some of those musicals are happy musicals themselves, some get caught up in the middle, and some are sad themselves.
Look at Les Mis for instance. The negative emotions are constantly being thrown at you. It feels like you all you feel are negative emotions. But if you look closely you can see the positive emotions being aimed at you. Besides, the first emotion you feel tends to happen before the action begins. In Les Mis, the first emotion I feel is excitement. The negative emotions tend to start in the opening scene and there is joy there and that joy is due to me loving the musical. When the bishop scene enters, you feel compassion, hope, and forgiveness.
Les Mis even has joy and compassion shown at death scenes and the joy would be impossible to spot if you don’t know the characters. One important thing to note about most of the Les Mis deaths is that most of the characters don’t die alone. Valjean is by Fantine’s side when she dies, Eponine is in the arms of Marius when she dies, the students, Gavroche, and Enjolras are around each other when they die, and Valjean dies alongside Cosette and Marius.
But where is the compassion and joy found at these deaths. Well, if you don’t understand Fantine’s love for her daughter and how desperate she is, you may not find the joy in her death. Valjean shows compassion by being with her as she dies. He promises to Fantine that he will raise her daughter, Cosette, as his own. The fact that Valjean promises to Fantine that he will raise Cosette is why this death happens to be memorable.
Look at the second death. Once again, joy and compassion is shown at that death. The second death happens on the barricades. Eponine has gotten shot and Marius finds her and holds her in his arms while she dies. You wouldn’t notice the joy in this scene if you don’t understand how much Eponine loves Marius and if you don’t pick up on how dark and miserable and lonely and empty her life is. She is in the arms of the man she loves at her death so she has joy there since she is with Marius. The compassion shown at this scene is that Marius decides to stay with Eponine even though he is quite upset and comforts her and stays brave for her up until her death. This death scene is memorable due to the fact that Eponine is dying in Marius’ arms and that “A Little Fall of Rain” is such a memorable and touching song.
See what I mean. Even Les Mis, the saddest musical I ever seen, shows that even that musical has room for positive emotions. The trick with sad musicals is they can be hard to love. It can be hard to know whether or not you love their plot.
But with Les Mis, the musical just doesn’t work without the positive emotions. The positive emotions show up through deaths and that does sound surprising. I never would have imagined a musical song could be a death song or that they can be memorable. The positive emotions are just not just limited to the deaths, but also related to some of the actions of the other characters.
Look at songs such as “This Nearly Was Mine”, “Memory”, and “I’m Not That Girl”. Every single one of them are heartbreaking songs, but I love them. Another bittersweet song is “For Good”, which is the most emotional song from Wicked. “I’m Not That Girl” began as a sad song and eventually became heartbreaking thanks to “On My Own” and “Memory was a song that I had forgotten the emotion to and realized it was heartbreaking through “I Dreamed a Dream”.
I love the negative emotions in the world of musicals. I love them the most when they are quite strong and quite truthful as well. The negative emotions don’t grow quite as quickly as the positive emotions. The negative emotions are covered with vulnerability, fragility, innocence at times, insight and truth, and on top of that, there is yourself. You become a character in the musical yourself and you learn to love the negative emotions. The one thing I don’t like about the negative emotions is that I don’t like that the character or characters have to feel the negative emotions or that they have to go through what they are going through
Joy in negative emotions means in a lot of ways means that you have a strong emotional connection to the material. Joy in negative emotions shows acceptance and understanding and a feeling of sympathy and empathy. It shows you care and it shows that you want to go on the character’s journey. Sometimes you have to search deeper for the negative emotions. They grow at a very steady rate and never grow quickly. Sad and heartbreak are core emotions in the world of musicals and between those two, heartbreak is the newest one. I said that because heartbreak was unknown to me growing up.
Most musicals I have seen are happy musicals and I associate musicals with them all the time. I first discovered sad when I was in middle school, but now in college, I love the negative emotions even more thanks to falling in love with Les Mis and Rent.
Being a true musical fan means learning how to have joy feeling the negative emotions. You want them to add to a musical experience and not take away from a musical experience. You want to provide you a positive experience and not the other way around. An amazing amount of musicals expresses the negative emotions in at least one song.
How do you view joy in negative emotions?