The Music of Frozen I
Ok so a couple weeks ago I got the chance to see the new Disney movie Frozen. Seriously, such an excellent movie. I wanted to see it another time before writing a post about things I found in it I wanted to talk about and expound on, but having listened to the soundtrack multiple times (and by multiple times I mean literally everyday), I want to at least write one about the music and how it shapes what goes on and brings out the message so much more clearly and what not. Later I’ll write some stuff on the beautiful/amazing themes and messages in the film. Because it truly is beautiful, and should be shared.
Note: This will probably take a couple posts to draw out as much as I want to. Feel free to ignore the next few posts if a study of music doesn’t interest you.
ALSO NOTE: THERE WILL PROBABLY BE SPOILERS. FAIR WARNING. READ NO FURTHER IF YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT YET. THE OPENING SONG ALONE ABSOLUTELY MUST RETAIN ITS SURPRISE FACTOR.
So here it is, the opening song. Give it a good listen-to.
It seriously gave me chills. No lie.
And I didn’t understand why until I listened to the second song, The Frozen Heart.
What makes the opening song so amazing is it literally sounds like ice! No wait hear me out. You start with that driving lower line that sounds primordial, organic. It’s like the sound of a thick sheet of ice, that sound when you step on it and you hear it creak and groan all across; you can feel that power under your feet rippling out through what seems so ridiculously firm. Then comes the the higher, harmonized parts, just kind of riding on top of it, floating and flowing with its own power, a more chilling and yet beautiful power. It’s like the winter wind, filled with swirling snowflakes.
From the opening song, you get the “beautiful, powerful, dangerous, cold” of ice, that “magic [that] can’t be controlled”. Right away, we are impressed with the power of ice. It can be so wondrous…and yet so harmful.
This song has a very distinctive theme, but it doesn’t come back again until almost the very end, the moment when Else discovers the secret to controlling her power: love.
Of course there are other themes here to look at, but for now focus on the part that starts at about 1:12. There’s that ice in music form again, but this time it’s not on its own; it’s matched perfectly with a beautiful orchestral accompaniment, a sort of musical framework. It channels the music, orders it. This mimics what is happening in the scene: by choosing to love herself and others, as well as to accept their love for her, Else is able to bring her incredible powers under control, to order them towards what is good, and thus freeing the world–and her own hurting heart–from eternal winter.
Real quick before I end this post: Isn’t the storytelling power of music incredible? This, right here, is why I listen more to musicals than to any other kind of music: they take an already amazing story and use the affective power of music to draw the heart of the story out even further, give it a new level of complexity, and raise the beauty of it beyond anything it could have achieved on its own. Music, my friends, nourishes the soul in a way few things on this Earth can, because it has the capacity to hold in just a few moments, a few vibrations of the air, an immense beauty.
So please excuse this trembling troubadour as he geeks out for awhile at the beauty of this most recent geek-obsession of his. Godspeed, brethren!