Tune versus orchestration in Peter and the Wolf

Ok so I just realised that I've been confusing something about Peter and the Wolf that is actually very simple to unconfuse. I have been thinking of the melodies that the characters are introduced to as the character's theme. But actually, as the narrator says at the beginning, the characters are not represented by tunes, but by instruments. So the strings actually play all sorts of different tunes, but they always represent Peter. What I've been thinking of as "Peter's tune" is actually not "his" tune. What is "his" is the violins. All the instruments play (what I thought of) as Peter's tune at some point in the piece. And his strings play many tunes.


What's exciting about this is that when the characters perform with their instruments, rather than the tunes, it reveals that the music is doing something different from the narration, which I didn't realise before. For example when the duck is eaten by the wolf the duck's tune is played by the strings - meaning that the music there is following Peter's thoughts (he is mourning the duck being eaten), not the duck's thoughts.


The tunes tell the story, and the orchestration the characters. If we can get that across...

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