Here for the Hearing

Analyzing the Music in Musical Theater

Subjects: Music, Music Theory, Musicology
Series: Tracking Pop
Paperback : 9780472039302, 310 pages, 92 examples, 19 figures, 4 tables, 6 x 9, May 2023
Hardcover : 9780472133314, 310 pages, 92 examples, 19 figures, 4 tables, 6 x 9, May 2023
Open Access : 9780472903535, 310 pages, 92 examples, 19 figures, 4 tables, 6 x 9, May 2023

Sponsored in part by the Florida State University Libraries' Open Access Publishing Fund
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A scholarly music analysis book specifically focused on musical theater

Table of contents

List of Examples and Figures
List of Tables
Michael Buchler and Gregory J. Decker
Part 1: Chapters that engage multiple works
Chapter 1. “Was It Ever Real?”: Tonic Return via Stepwise Modulation in Broadway Songs
Nathan Beary Blustein (American University)
Chapter 2. Sondheim’s Dissonant Tonality
Drew Nobile (University of Oregon)
Chapter 3. Topical Interpretive Strategies in American Musical Theatre: Three Brief Case Studies
Gregory J. Decker (Bowling Green State University)
Chapter 4. A Phenomenological Approach to Music Theater Rhyme
Richard Plotkin (New York, NY)
Chapter 5. The Changing Rhythms of Bridges and Ends
Rachel Short (Shenandoah Conservatory)
Part 2: Chapters that engage a single work, organized chronologically
Chapter 6. Three Notions of Long-Range Form in Guys and Dolls
Michael Buchler (Florida State University)
Chapter 7. Style, Tonality, and Sexuality in The Rocky Horror Show
Nicole Biamonte (McGill University)
Chapter 8. Music, Time, and Memory in Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years
Jonathan De Souza (University of Western Ontario)
Chapter 9. Lesbian Desire in Fun Home
Rachel Lumsden (Florida State University)
Chapter 10. The Hip-Hop History of Hamilton
Robert Komaniecki (University of Iowa)
Chapter 11. “Isn’t it queer?”: The Kinsey Sicks and the Art of Broadway Parody
J. Daniel Jenkins (University of South Carolina)
List of Contributors


This book offers a series of essays that show the integrated role that musical structure (including harmony, melody, rhythm, meter, form, and musical association) plays in making sense of what transpires onstage in musicals. Written by a group of music analysts who care deeply about musical theater, this collection provides new understanding of how musicals are put together, how composers and lyricists structure words and music to complement one another, and how music helps us understand the human relationships and historical and social contexts. Using a wide range of musical examples, representing the history of musical theater from the 1920s to the present day, the book explores how music interacts with dramatic elements within individual shows and other pieces within and outside of the genre. These essays invite readers to consider issues that are fundamental both to our understanding of musical theater and to the multiple ways we engage with music.

Michael Buchler is Professor of Music Theory at Florida State University.

Gregory J. Decker is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Bowling Green State University.

“This collection makes a significant contribution to the study of Anglophone musical theater by grounding discussions of meaning in the particulars of musical materials, using sophisticated methods developed by scholars of classical and popular music repertories. It touches on musicals old and new, traditional and experimental, conservative and progressive. It should inspire (if we’re lucky) even more such scholarship on this historically and culturally significant musical tradition.”
—Christopher Doll, Rutgers University

- Christopher Doll

“An important, timely, and engaging collection of essays on analytic approaches to the Broadway musical. The breadth of repertoire and analytical methodologies is impressive, and this reader learned something new from every essay.”
—William Marvin, Eastman School of Music

- William Marvin