Aria and Days in the Sun roughly follow the same tune and that means something.
I realized it a few days ago, when I was humming the Aria before a class one day. I was only a few bars into it before I realized that I was humming Days in the Sun.
I don’t know how I didn’t notice it before, but I think this means that there’s a very distinct connection between the two. So! I guess this means we have to break down the lyrics and stuff…
The Aria is in the key of A major (three sharps), which is good, as major keys with sharps always symbolize some kind of positive emotion. And it’s a positive scene. Everything is glowing, and the main theme of the song is celebration, every young girl in the room is vying for the attention of the prince, and it’s a party, which was probably one of the best things in the world back then.
But what I really found interesting was that Days in the Sun is in the key of B-flat major (which has two flats). And usually–though I am often surprised–I associate flats with sadness and depth. A piece with flats is one with melancholy, strength, and is usually not as fast as other pieces. Which works with Days in the Sun, because the main emotions are yearning, wistfulness, remembering the days of old when things were beautiful.
They’re only one key apart, one has flats and one has sharps, and yet they both follow the same tune. I think Menken is trying to tell us something.
He wrote both songs specifically for this version of the story, and he reused the same notes for them. Out of the four new songs in this version–no, out of all the songs, period–these two are the only ones that have this connection.
I think Days in the Sun is actually a call-back to the Aria. Aside from Adam being dark of heart, those days were beautiful, and the melody of the Aria mirrored that to perfection…though that’s probably just thanks to Audra’s voice
(she’s a goddess and that song was written for her). So it represents the days before the curse, where everything was all gold and dresses and parties with storms raging outside, but there was no need to worry.
Then we have a song that’s after the Aria (both in time and in key) that echoes it ever so slightly. The entire staff is living in the same castle that hosted all these wonderful parties and these amazing memories, but now it’s merely a shadow of what it used to be. So the song they sing echoes the night that was supposed to be glorious.
And even when Belle sings her part, she’s echoing the song her father used to sing to her (in my head-canon, the lullaby that belonged to her mother, hinting at happier times when her father wasn’t lost in reminiscing).
But the good thing about Days in the Sun is that it ends on a hopeful note; it hopes that those wonderful nights with the festivities and the laughter will come back, but better, because the curse will be broken.
[And honestly, it was better. Which ball would you have rather been at, the one at the beginning or the one at the end?]