Patriotic Assembly Song of the Week "Arkansas" (State Anthem)
Week 26 Henry Mancini (1927-1994) IOWA
MONDAY Music Example: Pink Panther Theme
Our musician of the week is Henry Mancini, who wrote music for films and TV shows starting in the 1950’s. Like George Gershwin and Glenn Miller, Mancini was a pioneer in music by blending jazz into the more romantic style previously used for films and TV. In his early career Mancini played piano and arranged music for The New Glenn Miller Band, formed after Miller’s death during WWII. Mancini’s music blends the big band sound with the more songlike quality of romantic style music. The big band jazz sound is present in the music for the The Pink Panther films. The Pink Panther is a series of comedy films featuring a bumbling French police detective named Inspector Jacques Clouseau trying to catch jewel thieves. In the films, the Pink Panther is not an animal, but a large and valuable pink diamond. The diamond is called the "Pink Panther" because the flaw at its center is said to resemble a leaping pink panther. Mancini created music that suggests mystery, suspense and ‘sneakiness’ to the listener.
"Vincent" by Don McClean is about Van Gogh's experiences as an artist.
TUESDAY Music Example: The Baby Elephant Walk
Great musicians must have great imagination and creativity. In writing for movies and TV shows, Henry Mancini demonstrated his imagination by transforming character traits into musical expression, such as a feisty panther, or a toddler size baby elephant.
"Baby Elephant Walk" is a piece of music written by Henry Mancini in 1961 for the movieHatari! Mancini combinedbrass instruments andwoodwinds to convey the sense of a toddler that is large and plodding, but filled with the exuberance of youth. The catchy,jazzy tune has made it one of Mancini's most popular works. 'Baby Elephant Walk’ is an example of ‘musical kookiness’. Get this tune in your head and it sticks there.
The music was written for a movie scene where three baby elephants are led to a pool to bathe. Mancini used acalliope organ to suggest the sound of a circus. A cheeky melody is then played over this on a clarinet. The overall style isboogie-woogie. Mancini was inspired to write “The Baby Elephant Walk” when he watched the young elephants on film walking to a steady 8-beat pattern. The inspiration to compose new music can come from unexpected sources. (Tuesday Music: Baby Elephant Walk)
Henry Mancini composed the "Peter Gunn Theme" for a 1958 TV series about a successful private investigator. The title character, Peter Gunn, is a well-dressed private eye whose hair is always in place and who loves jazz. He is a suave and sophisticated professional with a reputation of being one of the best investigators and trustworthy. Mancini’s imagination inspired him to create a musical representation of Peter Gunn. The music is jazz that feels heavy and weighted, portraying the strength of the man. Mancini wrote a persistent bass line ostinato--a repeated pattern--to provide the foundation for the music and give it a feeling of determination. The melody, played by trumpets, trombones and saxophones, portrays a feeling of both challenge and sophistication. This music is great for a big jazz band to play. American guitarist Duane Eddy played the bass line, and was inspired to arrange this theme for one guitar, one saxophone and one trumpet with percussion. Sometimes a departure from the expected can be a refreshing and surprising experience.
Youtube Video - Peter Gunn performed live by the Terry Gibbs Orchestra. Different instruments are featured in improvised solos. (4:25)
Duane Eddy, American guitarist who makes the guitar "twang".
THURSDAY Music Example: "Moon River" from BREAKFAST AT TIFFANY'S
Henry Mancini is known for
the beautiful, flowing melodies he wrote. One of these is “Moon River” for the movie Breakfast atTiffany’s, which starred beautiful Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly. “Moon River” is a 1961 award winning song that
has been arranged in different ways by many artists. The slow, gentle waltz is so popular, it has
been used in the field ofmusictherapy, as a test sample
in studies of peoples’ memories of popular songs. Mancini composed exactly the right
melody to suit the dreamy, waif-like, good-time girl, Holly Golightly. In the movie, Audrey Hepburn sang the
song herself, sitting with a guitar on the fire escape of a New York apartment,
and the result was charming. The 1960's pop singer Andy Williams' rendition of it became a classic. "Moon River" is just one of many beautiful melodies by Mancini that became popular hits during the 60's and 70's.
Science Connection: What is music therapy?
Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used therapeutically to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.
Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
FRIDAY Music Example: "LoveTheme from Romeo and Juliet" (A Time for Us)
Henry Mancini wrote one of his most beautiful melodies for a 1968 film based on the famous play by William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet. Mancini’s "Love Theme from Romeo and Juliet" was also known as "A Time for Us". This award-winning song was a number one pop hit in 1969. The 1968 film was different from earlier ones because it used actors closer to the age in Shakespeare’s play.
The music is an expression of both the hope and despair found in the two star-crossed lovers from Shakespeare's classic love story. The “Love Theme” begins with piano and orchestra playing the theme; then a choir sings “A Time for Us”. The music is written in a minor scale which contributes to the feeling of drama and emotion. It also leads the listener to expect an unhappy ending.
The simple melody and rhythm reflect a music style of the Renaissance. The melody soars with passion, then takes a downward direction. Like the other songs we’ve studied this week, Mancini’s “Love Theme” is an example of his ability to help make films believable, by using his imagination to write music that expresses characters and their feelings .