Accompaniment' Effect on Mood, Atmosphere and Interpretation of a Dance

Accompaniment' Effect on Mood, Atmosphere and Interpretation of a Dance

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Accompaniment can affect the mood, atmosphere and interpretation of a
dance. Using sections 1 and 5, discuss this statement.

In section 1 we are introduced to the ghosts of the title. Straight
away we hear the accompaniment of which is very quiet environmental
sounds. They are the sounds of the whistling wind and raindrops, which
shows a sense eeriness of the ghosts who we are introduced to after
the accompaniment begins. The three ghosts that appear on the stage,
dance almost straight away in a trio. Much of the dancing in this
section consists of balances jumps, twists, turns, different levels
and pauses. The pauses occur abruptly and not at regular intervals
therefore add to the sinister atmosphere that is present in this
section, not only in the movement but also in the accompaniment. Many
pauses occur abruptly throughout this section but this does not
interfere with the flow of the accompaniment, as it is fairly
improvised environmental sounds. The fluid but heavy movements of the
ghosts counterpoint the very quite accompaniment that is heard
throughout this section.

A vocal melody begins the accompaniment for section 5. Then a male
dancer does a solo accompanied by a guitar being plucked in the major
key. This signifies, and prepares us for this section to be an up
beat, jovial part of ghost dances. The male performs a solo using
various different floor patterns and most of his movements are quick,
sharp and strong with straight and angular arms and legs as well as a
few pivots. These movements counterpoint the accompaniment that is of
a high tone and a fairly fast tempo. Later, four female dancers join
this male dancer. When the female dancers are performing a quartet,
the male is performing a solo. The females’ movements counterpoint the
guitar melody and the male’s movements counterpoint the panpipe that
is also included in the accompaniment. After this, the male performs
three duets with three different female dancers that are present on
the stage. As the accompaniment continues with the panpipe and the
guitar giving an ebullient feel to this section, we are aware of the
situation. We know that this section is a light-hearted, bright and
fun part of Ghost Dances as we are shown to the male’s situation as he
flirts with all of the female dancers in an attempt to choose a
suitable partner. This section includes many carefree movements
illustrating the kind of person that the male dancer is. He is young
and high-spirited man who enjoys his life. The general atmosphere of
this section is bright and cheerful therefore the accompaniment in the

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major key helps illustrate a sense of exuberance. The accompaniment
abruptly discontinues and the ghosts take the male dancer away. The
fact that there is no accompaniment when the ghosts enter adds to the
disturbing atmosphere that occurs whenever the ghosts are on stage.

There are ways in which the sections differ not only in the movement
quality but also in the accompaniment and how it portrays the
situation that we are shown to. Section one introduces the ghosts and
we almost straight away realise the unusualness that is present in the
accompaniment as it is quiet and does not have a distinct rhythm.

The ghosts show a sense of unearthliness whenever they are on stage as
the accompaniment tones down from an energetic and lively atmosphere,
to a ghostly and mysterious one at the end of section five. The ghosts
are shown to be of the spirit world and in between the living and the
dead. They are shown to be cruel creatures that symbolise death, as
they may be of an underworld and the accompaniment shows this. It
shows us that the underworld is a cold dark place that is eerie and
disturbing because of the unusual quietness of the accompaniment, even
though the movements of the ghosts are fluid but still heavy. However,
much of section five’s accompaniment has a certain sprightly feel to
it. The strong, brisk movements of the dancers in this section
counterpoint the staccato notes that are played in the accompaniment
as the guitar is being plucked. The melody that is played in the
accompaniment shows a sense of jolliness and the lively movements
counterpoint it.
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