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Viva Voce - the Godfather

Autor:   •  February 20, 2017  •  Presentation or Speech  •  401 Words (2 Pages)  •  422 Views

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Viva Voce

An explanation of how composer Nino Rota creates the sound of rural Sicily in the Love Theme in “The Godfather”


Function of Film:

  • To create mood and atmosphere as well as set the time and place of the scene in the movie.
  • This wasn’t pre-composed.

The composer uses the following concepts to enhance the on-screen action by painting vivid picture of rural Sicily through the music alone.

Tone Colour:

  • Ensemble type- Orchestral
  • Featured instruments- oboe, accordion, mandolin and strings section

Link: The choice of instruments link music with the scene, as the mandolin and accordion are Old Italian peasant’s instruments, the way that they are played gives the song a regional and European feel. The music is passionate and rich, clarifying the place by painting a picture of Italian culture.


  • Metre
  • Simple quadruple metre with a 4/4 time signature
  • Beat

- Strong,  regular

  • Rhythm
  • Simple, played on beat
  • Combination of long and short notes
  • Ostinato throughout the song soloed by accordion, oboe and strings and also possesses syncopation (EXAMPLE 1)
  • Tempo
  • Slow Tempo (adagio), with small pauses

Link: Scene looks simple and is repetitive in what the viewer sees in terms of scenery.  The music presents a slow paced tune perfectly representing regional Italy.

Pitch (Melody):

  • Clear melodic theme is wide in its pitch
  • Because of the mandolin the pitch is quite jagged, which makes the piece foreboding, unsure, unease (EXAMPLE 2)
  • Uses chromatic harmonies which creates dissonance due to the (D) Minor Key Signature, chromatic harmonies and minor chords

Link: because of the minor key signature, melody seems somehow simultaneously unsettling and hopeful showcasing the mood of main character, Michael in the scene

Dynamics and Expressive Techniques:

  • The piece is played in (mezzo piano) and stays quite constant. The orchestra quiets for oboe, piano accordion and some strings solos (EXAMPLE 3)

Link: The scenery is simple and quiet. To be able to fully experience Italy, you must be still

  • Played legato, creating a smooth, passionate, romantic and intense piece

Link: Legato (making the piece expressive and romantic, like Italy)


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