Created By: randomsurfer on June 10, 2011 Last Edited By: randomsurfer on July 21, 2012
Troped

Half Duet

A character sings one half of a Duet without the other half

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Other possible title: One Sided Duet, Un Duet.

Alice and Bob have rehearsed a duet, but Bob doesn't show. What does Alice do? Sing her half only. Or maybe it's not even strictly speaking a "duet," Alice is just the backing vocalist.

Needs a Better Description, Needs More Examples.

Examples:

  • The Simpsons: Homer & Marge are planning to sing "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off" at Marge's cousn's wedding reception but for plot relevant reasons Homer doesn't show up, so Marge just sings her half.
    You say potato
    ...
    You say tomato
    ...
    Potato
    ...
    Tomato
    ...
    Let's call the whole thing off
  • The Richard Pryor Show: and the Pips perform "Grapevine" and "Midnight Train to Georgia" without Gladys Knight
  • Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: Heterosexual Life-Partners JB and KG split up because they've been invited to a sorority house party: KG wants to go, JB feels they should concentrate on their Quest to find the eponymous pick. At the party KG's talked into playing some of the songs he & JB have written, but he only knows the words for his parts (which are backup to JB). This doesn't go over well.
    across the devil's plain
    and his cross
    climbed K2, even stopped a moving train
    to
  • Alluded to in Chicago when Velma Kelly describes her act with her sister -- which can't be done anymore because her sister is dead. Instead of only doing her half, Velma goes "I'd go --" and does her part, then goes "She'd go --" and does her sister's part.
  • Inverted on The Office: Michael sings a duet of "Islands in the Stream" by himself, both the male and female vocals, until Jim comes to his rescue.
  • There's an episode of Clarissa Explains It All where Clarissa wants to perform a duet, but her duet partner can't make it. She performs one half of the duet in front of Sam and he tells her she looks like she's waiting for a bus when she's not performing.
  • Elf - Jovie starts off singing an Unduet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" in a Shower Scene. Buddy joins in, softly at first, ever slowly increasing in volume until Hilarity Ensues.
  • "What Would We Do Without You?" from Stephen Sondheim's Company- everyone in the cast has a tap partner to do a Call and Response move with except Bobby- who does his move, then there's no one to follow him. Only a very brief moment in the song.
  • An episode of Blue's Clues uses this, having Steve sing half of a duet and "you" the viewer are supposed to sing the other half.
  • Taken to an extreme in Malcolm in the Middle - Hal is in a Barbershop group, but his son Dewey points out all he does is dance around in the back and offer the occasional backing vocal. Dewey goes on to throw the Apple of Discord around the whole group, until they're so furious with each other they refuse to perform... so Hal gets on stage and dances around in near-complete silence doing his part of the act, until the rest of them join in out of pity.
  • This gets played with, at the very least, in Enchanted. After the prince finally finds Gisele again, he starts singing the duel from the start of he movie. However, when it comes to Gisele's part, there's silence. The prince even points out, "You're not singing." This is plot relevant, as it reveals that Gisele is no longer in love with him but another.
  • Dancing version: In episode 13 of Princess Tutu, the titular Princess Tutu dances a pas de duex (that is, a ballet intended for two people) by herself because the Prince she is in love with has been brainwashed by the Evil Princess and she is hoping to get through to him via the emotion in the dance.
Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • June 10, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    Alluded to in Chicago when Velma Kelly describes her act with her sister -- which can't be done anymore because her sister is dead. Instead of only doing her half, Velma goes "I'd go --" and does her part, then goes "She'd go --" and does her sister's part.
  • August 9, 2011
    Aielyn
    For the trope name, how about Un Duet? It works in two ways - one is that it's something that would normally be a Duet and making it not one - like how "undead" are dead that are made to be not dead. The other is that "un" is a prefix meaning "one".
  • August 11, 2011
    DarkSasami
    Does Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas count? Or does the fact that "Brothers" and "Our World" are ... well, almost songs by themselves disqualify it?
  • August 11, 2011
    madelinemary
    On The Office Michael sings a duet of Islands in the Stream by himself, both the male and female vocals, until Jim comes to his rescue.
  • August 11, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^I'm not familiar with the story and the trope page doesn't give any info on those songs. Could you?
  • November 2, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Bump; also hoping someone will give more info on Emmet Otters Jug Band Christmas.
  • November 18, 2011
    randomsurfer
    OK, since nobody chimed in, I checked out Youtube. Emmet Otter doesn't seem to count. It's more two In Universe separate songs blended.
  • December 11, 2011
    aidansean
    There's an episode of Clarissa Explains It All where Clarissa wants to perform a duet, but her duet partner can't make it. She performs one half of the duet in front of Sam and he tells her she looks like she's waiting for a bus when she's not performing.

    For crossword lovers, the trope name "du" might be more fun! I prefer "un duet" though.
  • December 11, 2011
    vynsane
    I like this, good call. "Un Duet" or "Unduet" works for me, as well, since "Un" is the French word for "One".

    Film
    • Elf - Jovie starts off singing an Unduet of "Baby It's Cold Outside" in a Shower Scene. Buddy joins in, softly at first, ever slowly increasing in volume until Hilarity Ensues.
  • December 11, 2011
    condottiera
    ^That's cool. Could by just "Mono-et" or "Unet." I like "Solo Duet," too.
  • December 11, 2011
    Duncan
    Not to be confused with Solo Duet.
  • December 13, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    Just look around online and you'll find multiple videos that people have made of themselves singing one part of a duet to the instrumentals of that song, though these are made with the intention of the viewer singing the other part along with the video recording.
  • December 13, 2011
    Duncan
    Would the trope in The Musical where a character dies mid-duet count? e.g. West Side Story and Les Miserables? Usually the living person doesn't continue more than a bar or two.

    Oh, and a mini-example from "What Would We Do Without You?" from Stephen Sondheim's Company- everyone in the cast has a tap partner to do a Call and Response move with except Bobby- who does his move, then there's no one to follow him. Only a very brief moment in the song.
  • December 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^I never considered that - never even thought about it. But thinking now, it seems that's more Killed Mid Sentence (unless of course they aren't actually killed, IDK).
  • December 13, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    An episode of Blues Clues uses this, having Steve sing half of a duet and "you" the viewer are supposed to sing the other half.
  • December 15, 2011
    johnnye
    Taken to an extreme in Malcolm In The Middle - Hal is in a Barbershop group, but his son Dewey points out all he does is dance around in the back and offer the occasional backing vocal. Dewey goes on to throw the Apple Of Discord around the whole group, until they're so furious with each other they refuse to perform... so Hal gets on stage and dances around in near-complete silence doing his part of the act, until the rest of them join in out of pity.
  • February 2, 2012
    KevinKlawitter
    In the documentary Young@Heart (about a nursing home singing group who specializes in covering pop music) a duet of Coldplay's "Fix You" is planned between two of the of veterans of the group, but following the death of one of them it has to be done as a solo.
  • February 2, 2012
    Rognik
    This gets played with, at the very least, in Enchanted. After the prince finally finds Gisele again, he starts singing the duel from the start of he movie. However, when it comes to Gisele's part, there's silence. The prince even points out, "You're not singing." This is plot relevant, as it reveals that Gisele is no longer in love with him but another.
  • February 3, 2012
    drakkensdatter
    Does it have to be singing? In episode 13 of Princess Tutu, the titular Princess Tutu dances a pas de duex (that is, a ballet intended for two people) by herself because the Prince she is in love with has been brainwashed by the Evil Princess and she is hoping to get through to him via the emotion in the dance.

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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/discussion.php?id=43rx25q5koi80hy9d3qg05ad&trope=HalfDuet