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5. The Industrial Revolution [IWTK]



 Genre: Showtunes

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I wrote "I Want To Know" in 1991 as part of an Artist-In-Residence program at a high school back when I as a Wisconsin Artist and president of the Wisconsin Drama Association children's theatre division. I recently was asked to remaster the tracks to sell to schools in New Zealand. I'd forgotten how fun the music and lyrics were. I decided to share them all here.

It is, more or less, a history of the western world in comic book form. The students and I researched history in various categories and compressed it into lyrics. The style of performance was ensemble-based, improvisationally-conceived, low-budget theatrical. Lots of partial costume pieces, people playing multiple roles, open staging chaos. Very fun to perform (and, if you were part of the process, edify on several levels, hopefully).

Part of the residency was setting up a music lab in which I arranged and recorded the backing music. (Part of the grant.) I taught the students how to use the equipment as we arranged the music with various keyboards. I recall there being an M1, a Casio something, and an early Mac running Performer.

I've uploaded the tracks in reverse order so that they'll appear on my song list in the correct order. Here is a complete list. The tracks run about 40 minutes if you listen in one sitting. (The show also has spoken scenes with no music.)

1. I Want to Know - opening
2. The History of Science
3. The History of Medicine
4. The History of Transportation
5. The Industrial Revolution
6. I Want to Know - closing

This is scene follows a single family (or, at least, the eldest daughter of a family), through a few stages of the Industrial Revolution. The entire ensemble participates. The end of this tune, with the progressive rock influenced robotic section, was my favorite part of the score. The ending is meant to roll right into the next track...
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As we soar over the land on wings of imagination, let us also go back in time to discover how inventions have affected the way we work.

We see before us a cottage, nestled snugly into the English countryside. Its thatched roof blends perfectly into the pastoral greens and browns of the valley.

The father is outside, chopping wood. Inside are his wife and thirteen children. As we peer into the window, we see that everyone is hard at work. Looking more closely, however, we see that all is not as ideal as we first thought. Dust fills the air. Sanitation is poor. They are terribly crowded. Many of the children are sick.

That is why, when word reaches the valley that a new invention is revolutionizing industry in the cities, the eldest daughter leaves, hoping to find a job in the steam-driven factory.

Shooting steam blows: In, up. Out, down. / Stoke the flames up; water cooled down.

The cylinders rotate the fly wheel that moves the mighty machine gears.

Hook up to the energy of Steam Power. Let it drive your entire factory.
Labor savings found. Turn your profits around.
Join in the Industrial Revolution.

And then a new invention revolutionized the factory: The Assembly Line!

In the fact'ry, workin' all day.
In the fact'ry, we get good pay.

Parts and pieces go by all the time.
We work together on the assembly line.

Hot and sweaty. Fingers are raw.
Head is poundin'. My hearings gone.

In the fact'ry, workin' all day.
Wanna go home now, it's been such a long, long day.

In the fact'ry, workin' all day.
In the fact'ry, we get good pay.

Left the country to get a good job.
Just one cog in a wheel makes my head throb.

Then, as time went by, machines were made that could perform more complex tasks. Pretty soon, they were doing whole jobs once performed by several human beings. Some people were lost in the shuffle.

Replaced by robotics: Machines that do work.
Manufactured products, computer networks.
Sterile, tireless workers. Precision... all day.
Never making errors; requiring no pay.

Come one and all! The BRAVE NEW WORLD is all around you!

Replaced by robotics: Machines that do work.
Manufactured products, computer networks.
Sterile, tireless workers. Precision... all day.
Never making errors; requiring no pay.

We complain about the noise, the clutter, the mechanical face of technology. But imagine life without it...
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Uploaded: Mar 16, 2012 - 11:50:52 AM
Last Updated: Mar 16, 2012 - 01:07:42 PM Last Played: Jul 08, 2019 - 08:44:36 AM
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abzwork said 2742 days ago (March 17th, 2012)
I Want To Know..
Wonderous dance of colors man..exceptional flavas..incredible...:):):)peace
Check out my latest song called "BusyBody"
Les_Kloo said 2741 days ago (March 18th, 2012)
The days of mixed blessings. "Imagine life without it" indeed. So much we take for granted. I think this is my favorite part of the series from a musical standpoint.
Check out my latest song called They Don't Lie
VicDiesel said 2740 days ago (March 19th, 2012)
assembly line
Those girl singers are great!

Appropriate that you choose a bluesy style for this.
Check out my latest song called Frippery
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Name: Tobin Mueller
Location: Rowayton CT USA
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I am a professional musician, composer, playwright and director. I've led a charmed life. I'm married to fellow MJer Suzanne and MJer Twonicus is my son, who currently sings and writes for rock bands in the NYC, D.C. and Cleveland areas. My second s... [see more]

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