Is that all you blighters can do?
Singers/Actors! You are learning a new monologue set to music, (which is a monologue, yes, but the energy and attention is more successfully conducted when it is about the other person i.e. the scene partner, the higher or lower self, the audience, or the story, etc.) in other words - a song! In life we rarely allow a person to monopolize a conversation, and have 2-3 minutes full of just them talking. If this happens it must be very important. What prevents or hinders the other person not to interrupt or interject? What holds the interest long enough for the speaker to say (sing) the full message or story, etc.? So, you have started to research: you have read the script/libretto, know what happens before and after your song, know what you are giving, why, to whom, etc., seen the show if possible, and many other preparations necessary. (Yes, a song can always be taken out of context of the “show”, but knowledge of the show is of course, extremely viable and necessary!) Now it is time to “monologue the song”. Read the song (the words), read it again but aloud, now read it aloud as if it is a spoken monologue (model with acting). Next, within the rhythm conditions of the manuscript - read the words. Meaning read it in the basic shape of the written rhythm, so if there are short notes your words would be short, if there is a held note that word could be sustained or there may be a pause after you say the word, etc. This is not reading the rhythm like a Musical Director might ask you to do. This is acting the words in the context of the notated rhythm. Now, coupled with the rhythm apply the basic shape of the melody to the monologue, i.e. as the notes go up and down do so with your voice (not in an exaggerated way - but like in normal everyday conversation our voices rise and lower). You have just learned how the composer and writer believe their song could be interpreted. This is similar to using scansion for Shakespeare, in particular, but also for many playwrights. However, when applied to a song, this practice clearly, and quickly shows why the music and words are contextually songsmith’ed together, and how to readily act the song. (Oh what a beautiful morning from R&H’s OKLAHOMA is attached as an example to practice.) Enjoy!