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There's a reason so many people love 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow.' A songwriting expert reveals it.

A composer breaks down a simple but fascinating interplay that made this song a classic.

Why did "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" get into our hearts and stay there?

It's not hard to see why "The Wizard of Oz" was a smash hit back in the day. It was one of the first films to use color and had major star power with a young Judy Garland.

But one of the movie's most iconic moments is more about sound than sight, and we're about to look at this song in a way you probably never thought of before.


Get ready for four new revelations about one old song.

"Words make you think thoughts, music makes you feel a feeling, but a song makes you feel a thought."

One man can tell us why this song wedged itself deep in our collective psyches.

This is Rob Kapilow, composer and explainer of deep musical secrets. His gesture is practically inviting us to enter his mysterious world of composer-y know-how. How can we resist? (Image by Peter Schaaf, used with permission.)

PBS Newshour's Jeffrey Brown interviewed Rob Kapilow, a composer who developed a program called "What Makes It Great," which explains why musical pieces effect the responses they do. Why does this song tug at our heartstrings?

1. Kapilow says it just comes down really to two notes at the beginning and then two musical concepts that repeat through the melody.

It's a real "aha" moment:

Jeffrey Brown: "'Over the Rainbow,' right, one of the most — everybody knows this song, but why? What makes us know this song?"

Rob Kapilow, composer: "You know, amazingly, the answer to that starts with the very first two notes. In this famous opening idea, there's really only two ideas. One of them, I call 'leap.' The other one, I call 'circle and yearn.' And it's important."

These are those two opening notes he's talking about (from 0:11-0:15):

2. Then Kapilow goes into more details about the concept of the "leaps" and "circle/yearn."

Those two notes you just listened to were the first example of the leaps. That first one was the biggest. Low ("some") to high ("WHERE"). Those leaps get progressively smaller the next two times — on "way UP" and then again on "there's A." You're singing those to yourself right now, aren't you?

The circle/yearn part is explained as if the low note (a low C) represents her feeling stuck in Kansas and the high note (a high C) represents her belief in a more wondrous place:

Kapilow: "So, you start on a note, you circle back to it, and then you yearn. That's it, circle and yearn. Now, there are three [instances in the verse]…"



Brown: "And the question is, what are we — what is she — yearning for? And at the end, we realize, right?"


Kapilow: " Yes, exactly. She's yearning for high C. She's yearning for high C."

3. Now Kapilow explains the crucial moment in the song where its original composer, Harold Arlen, captured the sense of longing.

Kapilow: "Now, it's really the harmony that makes it so exquisite. You know, Yip Harburg called this a song of yearning. So, here's what she's yearning about. He could easily have written kind of a cheery accompaniment to 'way up high,' like this."

To understand what he means, you really have to hear it — watch the part at 2:50, because it would have absolutely changed the whole feeling of the song.

It's clear that cheery would never do in this context, so the notes Arlen chose really sealed our fate — we were destined to love and relate to this bittersweet song.

4. And then Kapilow goes on to explain how the final leap at the end signifies Dorothy's transformation — which is worth sharing with all your "Wizard of Oz"-loving friends.

He says that the final notes are what brings her to Oz (in her heart) after the wistful circling and yearning in the entire song. He notes how the final line — the part with "happy little blue birds fly" — mimics the melody of the B section ("troubles melt like lemon drops") instead of closing out with the main melody.

Kapilow: "She would have been home, but she would never have gone to Oz. In a beautiful moment — and this is a fantastic moment — Arlen decides to bring back the middle of the song, but in the orchestra. There's a beautiful quote from Yip Harburg, who wrote the words. He said, 'Words make you think thoughts, music makes you feel a feeling, but a song makes you feel a thought.' And you can feel her thinking. Just the orchestra. Then she comes back, just like in the B section, 'If happy little blue birds fly.'"

Judy Garland (singing): "If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow, why, oh, why can't I?"

Kapilow: "One last rise. 'Why, oh, why,' and where does she finally get to? Oz. From low C to high C, from Kansas to Oz, from reality to fantasy, and her transformation is complete."



[youtube http://www.youtube.com/embed/PSZxmZmBfnU?rel=0&start=102&end=132&autoplay=0 expand=1]

Dorothy's song is the first fortuitous sign we get as the movie is getting started that says:

"Hey — this person is going somewhere unimaginable that will change her in wonderful ways."

Maybe that's why we all love it. We all want that for ourselves, too.

If you enjoyed this new way to look at an old song, maybe your Oz-loving (or music-obsessed) friends will, too.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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