Dissertation Index



Author: Hudlow, Adam M.

Title: HARMONY, VOICE LEADING, AND DRAMA IN THREE SONDHEIM MUSICALS

Institution: Louisiana State University

Begun: August 2009

Completed: December 2013

Abstract:

This study presents an analytical approach to three works by American musical theater composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim: Sunday in the Park with George, Into the Woods, and Assassins—each of which Sondheim developed largely at the Playwrights Horizons theater in New York. Using an eclectic, neo-Schenkerian approach that draws upon recent work by pop-rock and stage music analysts, it examines the intersection of melodic and harmonic events with dramatic occurrences in the text to determine how Sondheim heightens dramatic narrative within each song analyzed.
Sondheim’s work has been a fixture of the upper echelon of the Broadway musical for over half a century. Countless authors have devoted their time to Sondheim’s work, yet relatively few works of music scholarship are dedicated solely to Sondheim, and very little of this is strictly analytical in nature. This study seeks to contribute to filling of analytical void in Sondheim research. Since each musical score so brilliantly parallels the tone and setting of each show, Sondheim’s fourteen musicals have very little in common with respect to surface musical style. Even within a single show, the composer’s polystylistic approach to composition makes it difficult to pin down a singular “Sondheim style.” The analytical approach in this study focuses on selected songs’ deep-level musical structures and their interaction with dramatic events onstage, demonstrating that what makes Sondheim unique lies not in his melodies, form, harmony, or accompaniment patterns by themselves, but in how those elements integrate with one another and serve the dramatic narrative.

Keywords: Sondheim, Voice-leading, Drama, Harmony, Broadway

TOC:

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iv
LIST OF EXAMPLES vi
ABSTRACT ix
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION 1
1.1: Scope of Study 2
1.2: Existing Sondheim/Musical Theater Literature 4
1.3: Analytical Methodology 6
1.4: Clarifying Artistic Voice 11
1.5: A Note About Source Materials 11
CHAPTER TWO: SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE 13
2.1: Introduction 13
2.2: Unresolved Melodies: “I have to finish the hat.” 20

CHAPTER THREE: INTO THE WOODS 44
3.1: Introduction 44
3.2: Motifs 47
3.3: Three Songs of Self-Discovery 65

CHAPTER FOUR: ASSASSINS 83
4.1: Introduction 83
4.2: Two Ballads 88

CHAPTER FIVE: CONCLUSION 107
BIBLIOGRAPHY 112
Sondheim Scores 117
Sondheim Audio and Video Recordings (In alphabetical order by title) 117
VITA 118


Date Listed: 02/14/2017


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