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Soundeffects in a Streetcar Named Desire

  • Date Submitted: 02/23/2012 09:26 AM
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eetcar Eilis Mc Colgan
A Streetcar Named Desire

Music and Sound Effects

A Streetcar Named Desire is hugely dependant on the effects of music; the melody is interlinked with the stage directions, character speeches and the most dramatic scenes. i.e. music plays the role of a mood setter and as a source of characterization.
There is two recurring pieces of music during the play, The Blue piano and the Varsouviana polka. The sound of “Blue piano” is used to represent the present, it “expresses the spirit of life” whereas the Varsouviana polka is used to represent the past.

Scene 1

The Blue Piano:

The Blue piano is used to describe New Orleans and to set the scene for the play, Williams describes it as the “spirit of life which goes on here.” Williams refers to it as the “perpetual ‘blue piano’” in the stage direction (Scene 2).

The volume of the music increases like Blanches hysteria. When Blanche talks of Belle Reve the music “grows louder” perhaps posing a contrast to life at Belle Reve and New Orleans or the music could act as a reminder of the differences in their life now and how long ago and far away Belle Reve is.

Varsouviana polka:

The Polka music in this play is used to represent the past and in a sense death. Williams lets us hear what is happening in Blanches mind through the music. This memory (of her husband’s death) etches its way to the forefront of her consciousness when she is recalling her husband and when she feels emotionally threatened, it presents the notion of to her disintegrating sanity as well as her loss of innocence.

Scene 2

The Blue Piano:
The Blue piano is heard at the start of this scene and seems to be played often when Stella and Stanley are alone.

The Blue Piano “sounds louder” again, as Blanche learns that Stella is pregnant. Blanche is almost able to ignore everyone elses speech at this point, the blue piano seems to be the only sound she hears as she “dreamily” speaks, perhaps...


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