hisaishi.txt - The harp-like instrument that plays the...

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The harp-like instrument that plays the minimalist arpeggiation motif is associated with Haku, and functions as the Magic theme. It surrounds Haku because there is something magical about him that is not revealed until the end of the movie. It is hinted at near the beginning of the film when Chihiro and her parents are first walking into the abandoned theme park. They had just become lost driving to their new house; this happens at around five minutes and forty five seconds into the movie. There is a mystical vibe about the place that is not perceived by the parents, but Chihiro is able to feel the magic and is resistant. She wants to turn back, but her parents refuse and continue. The wind also pushes her towards the bathhouse; there is 30 great potential for this section to seem threatening, but instead Hisaishi s instrumentation and chord choices prevent such an atmosphere and depict mystery. The main Magic theme appears when Chihiro runs into Haku at the beginning of the film at eleven minutes and fifteen seconds. On the OST, this piece of music is titled The Dragon Boy , referring to Haku. In this theme, Hisaishi dances around a C minor arpeggio in the harp-like instrument (possibly harp and celesta doubled, or Koto), while another harp enters in a triplet pattern, creating a polyrhythm. This arppegiation in the harp-like instrument in the upper register gives the theme its magical impression. The woodwinds take over this arppegiating theme in staccato style when the action begins to reach a climax. To add to the drama, the brasses provide a C pedal tone for the woodwinds to flit over. As the music strengthens, Chihiro runs to try to escape the Spirit world before nighttime and the music intensifies with her alarm. However, the music does not capture the fear in her emotion, but the excitement. There is nothing fearful about the music, because not only does it serve as background to simulate Chihiro s mindset; it also represents the awakening of the Spirit world. This explains the grandeur of the motifs within the theme.
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