Sympathy and Empathy in Musicals

The word sympathy reminds me of musicals. A musical has the advantage of song to make you feel for the characters. They want you to feel empathy for the characters, but sometimes all you can feel sympathy for them especially if you are feeling for a character you don’t like.

The emotions the actors are played to the audience makes the audience feel what the character is feeling. In my eyes, I feel like the characters personally know everyone in the audience and are comfortable with sharing their emotions to the audience even if they are not willing to share it to the other characters.

Some musical emotions are hard to feel and are tough. You don’t want the characters to go through what they are going through at times, but you still learn to care about them and they end up living in you. The negative emotions are the best example of feeling sympathy and eventually empathy for them. I don’t mind feeling the negative emotions especially if I fall in love with the sad and heartbreaking songs and fall in love with the character and plot because you feel like you are ingrained into the plot and when that happens, you end up having a positive experience.

What makes the songs make you feel for the characters? Well, for starters, songs are usually more powerful than words alone. Sometimes a musical’s use of crescendos makes a song feel strong and powerful, which is a very unique thing to see. The crescendo makes you see just how strong a character is and that can make you feel the emotions the song is trying to convey. There are key changes when it comes to a crescendo. Songs like “On My Own”, “One Day More”, “Defying Gravity” among others have a use of crescendos and crescendos help with emotions a lot. It lifts the song and makes a song even more powerful.

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I feel like the melody shows the nature of the emotions. A slow and quiet song is how you end up feeling love and the sad or heartbreaking songs fit under that category as well. “I’m Not That Girl” is an unrequited love song, but because the melody stays consistent throughout, it  shows that Elphaba’s love for Fiyero is not that strong at that point in the story. But with the case of “On My Own”, which is another unrequited love song, the melody which has this whole introduction shows just dark and empty Eponine’s life is and when that sudden key changes after “all I see is him and me forever and forever”,  the melody  slowly builds up over time sells how just strong and deep Eponine’s love for Marius is. So melody does play a part in the emotion of the song. The exciting songs have the pattern of starting and suddenly speeds up and that gives you the wow factor that an exciting is supposed to have.

What is your opinion about feeling sympathy and empathy in musicals? Do you like the use of crescendos in musicals? Why you think songs bring out the emotions in the characters better than words alone?

Sympathy

Crescendo

Exciting Numbers in Musicals

When it comes to musicals, there is a certain kind of song I think about when it comes to the word show tune. They are the songs that tend to start out slow and eventually reach a point where they speed up and gain more energy. Those are usually some of the most exciting songs in the musical world. Each time I see a new musical, I always hope a song in that nature shows up, but I don’t mind if they don’t. Here is a list of some examples of those types of songs.

  1. Seize the Day
  2. Popular
  3. Do Re Mi
  4. My Favorite Things
  5. Your’e Never Fully Dressed Without a Smile
  6. Seventy Six Trombones
  7. America
  8. There is Nothing Like a Dame
  9. Magic to Do
  10. Mr. Mistoffelees
  11. We Beseech Thee
  12. Dancing Through Life
  13. We Go Together
  14. Good Morning
  15. I Just Can’t Wait to Be King
  16. Be Our Guest

From elementary to the end of high school, my definition of “full of life” referred only to these kinds of songs. Those numbers most likely tend to be a dance or spectacle number.