Music Analysis Lion King — I just can’t wait to be King & Hakuna Matata
Film music can be responsible for many factors in a film such as creating the mood, developing the character as well as developing the plot. The Lion King is a film produced by Walt Disney in 1994 (The Lion King - Disney Wiki - Wikia, n.d). The whole film is based on the behaviour of wild African animals and inspired by Hamlet by Shakespeare and the lives of Joseph and Moses from the Bible. It is about Simba, Musfasa’s son, who embarks on a journey filled with many trials to prepare him when he takes the throne as the King of the Pride Lands. Two songs that feature in the Lion King, I Just Can’t Wait to be King and Hakuna Matata are both composed by Hans Zimmer and with the lyrics written by Elton John and Tim Rice. They show how Simba develops from a reckless youth to a respectable adult by using pitch, expressive techniques and dynamics and timbre.
The musical element pitch is a major factor which contributes to the character development of Simba. I Just Can’t Wait to be King, is sung by Simba, Nala and Zazu when they set off on a journey to the Graveyard. The song is set in G major key (see appendix 1) which implies that the song is fixated in a merry atmosphere and demonstrates Simba’s innocence. The melodic contour of the piece is angularly shaped (see appendix 1) to represent the excitement that Simba has to become the ruler of the Pride Lands. It also shows the enthusiasm that a child has when they discover something new and exciting. Harmonic features are evident in the song to give emphasise and emotion. The harmony utilises syncopated chords to further enhance the upbeat nature of Simba. There is also a motif between each sung section which emphasises the playful theme. Nearing the end of the song, a choir joins in and harmonises with Simba. This is evident at 2:10. This exhibits that the animals accept Simba as their future king and the delight that Simba has as a cub. Hans Zimmer
In comparison, Hakuna Matata, depicts that Simba should throw his worries away into the past where they should belong. This song occurs after Simba runs away when his father dies and his uncle, Scar, gives him a warning. As expected, pitch is as important in Hakuna Matata and I Just Can’t Wait to be King. The song is also in a G major key which portrays the phrase “hakuna matata” meaning no worries and being happy that the past is no more (Basak, 13). Hakuna Matata’s melodic contour is a wave to signify the ups and downs of life and to leave the past behind (see appendix 2). Such an example is present when the phrase “hakuna matata” is sung numerous times at 2:07-08. This example is effective in Harmony occurs in this piece to emphasise happiness, found at 2:00 on the words “it’s our problem-free philosophy”. The harmonic feature is a counter melody that indicates the problems that interfere with life should be forgotten. It occurs at 1:03 on the words “hakuna matata”, 2:00-2:05 on the...