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The Role of Music in Theatrical Work: Modern Music that Could be Used to Enhance Shakespeare's Play "As You Like It"

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Music is an important element of any theatrical work. It sets up the setting, mood, and emotions for the audience. Different songs can tell stories whether sad or happy. In “As You Like It” by William Shakespeare, there are many scenes where the traditional play music can be replaced with modern contemporary and still give the story the same meaning. There are songs that describe the blossoming romance and friendship of Rosalind and Orlando and the theme of reality. And there are others that set up the mood for the setting. The songs that can replace the traditional songs successfully are Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” and “You Belong With Me” and “Spring Waltz by Yiruma. Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” relates to and focuses on the scene in Act One where Rosalind and Orlando begin to fall in love for the first time. Here, we are able to utilize this song and get a different feeling for the scene with a modern perspective.
When two people fall in love at their first meeting, it is considered “love at first sight”. This theme is presented in the play during Act One after the wrestling match between Orlando and Charles. After the match, Rosalind immediately fell in love with Orlando, “My pride fell with my fortunes. I’ll ask him what he would. —Did you call, sir? Sir, you have wrestled well and overthrown more than your enemies (Shakespeare, 1.2. 213-216).” “Love Story” sets up this scene in the play because Rosalind begins to fall in love with Orlando because she is “overthrown” by him. Orlando also falls in love with Rosalind during this scene as well. Orlando says, “What passion hangs these weights upon my tongue? I cannot speak to her, yet she urged conference. O poor Orlando! Thou art overthrown. Or Charles or something weaker maste...


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...u Belong With Me” can exemplify many scenes and themes from “As You Like It”. “Spring Waltz” by Yiruma is an excellent classical piece that can help support the theme of the countryside and the transition from the court to the forest setting. Overall, not every modern song can be utilized in this play because the play is very specific in the themes or scenes that it is trying to portray. In order to be able to get the same feeling or emotion for the play, excellent song choices must be picked out and analyzed in order to get the same effect. As Henry Ward Beecher once said, “Music cleanses the understanding; inspires it, and lifts it into a realm which it would not reach if it were left to itself. (Inspiring Music Resources)” This is especially true for the new songs selected for “As You Like It” because it escalates the meaning of the play to a different level.




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