Today, I want to talk about what exactly makes a good musical song? The answer to that is very complicated. In my opinion, the songs are the heart of a musical. Usually the songs are where you form emotional connections. A song can make you fall in love with a character and the plot.
First things first, the melody is key to a good musical song. I do not want a melody that sounds rather boring. I want a melody that sounds appealing. Depending on the musical, the melodies have to be different in order to fit each musical. For example, in Wicked, all the songs have to sound OZian and all the melodies were successful in that. Even in one musical, the songs all need to sound like they all fit in that particular musical.
The melody can help develop emotion in a way. If a song tends to be slow and beautiful, the song is either a love song or a sad song. If song is exciting, the songs tend to start out slow and eventually getting faster. If the musical is sung-through, the melodies have to work in a way that makes them flow together. For instance, in Les Mis, it recycles melodies in order for everything to flow. Some people see this pattern as a bad thing, but if Les Mis didn’t recycle melodies, the sung-through nature would feel all jumbled up and would not flow easily.
The lyrics come next. Without the lyrics, the song literally has no emotion. Even the melody helps with emotion. The lyrics tell the audience what the song is about. By knowing the meaning of the song, it helps you figure out the emotion. Depending on what character sings the song, it affects what exactly a song is about. Are the characters singing about something that fits who they are? Does the song actually fit nicely into the musical? Does the song make you feel connected to the character?
When the melodies and lyrics come together, it is a wonderful thing. The melody happens through the orchestra and the orchestra is a huge part of why going to a musical makes me so happy. The actors sing the song, which is where the lyrics and emotion come into play.
To me, songs are key to many things in a musical. If the emotions are highly important to a musical, they will express them through the songs. The less simple the musical, the less likely the songs will express negative emotions and the more complex the musical, the more likely negative emotions will be expressed through the songs.
In my opinion, a musical song can be memorable even if the melody is not easy to hum to. To me, a good musical always seems to come from the songs. In my opinion, falling in love with the songs makes you fall in love with the emotions.
In your opinion, what makes a memorable musical song?