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Rhythms of transportation and the folk musical

by Kate Fortmueller

The nostalgia and focus on family in Meet Me in St. Louis are typical of what Rick Altman has termed "the folk musical" in his book, The American Film Musical. In this musical subgenre, songs often appear to emerge naturally from the characters (who are not playing professional performers) and numbers derive from common activities, such as riding the trolley. As Altman points out, in the folk musical, there are numerous examples of "onomatopoeic tunes imitating the rhythm and sounds of modes of transportation [...]" (286). As you watch this clip, consider how the song begins and how the rhythm of the trolley is integrated into the musical number.

Meet Me in St. Louis (1944) - Trolley Song

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The well-known "Trolley Song" performed by Judy Garland and cast, from the integrated musical, Meet Me in St. Louis.

from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944)
Creator: Vincente Minnelli
Posted by Kate Fortmueller