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Scattered across time: Wagner's influence on the contemporary lyric in musical theatre

Courtis, Sarah (2012) Scattered across time: Wagner's influence on the contemporary lyric in musical theatre. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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Musical theory is a well-researched area of study which includes thematic devices such as leitmotivs, unfinished melodies, harmonic structure and many more in this vein. While he did not invent these concepts of musical theory, Richard Wagner’s creative advances and contributions to ‘Music Drama’ have greatly influenced musical theatre as we know it today. Wagner’s innovations in this area have led me to theorise that such musical devices can be applicable to the little studied area of lyrics. In order to explore this concept I have done a case study of Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods as well as experimented with the theories Wagner composed (in essays) by writing lyrics to two musicals: one an adaptation of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and another of my own devising via collaboration, Gesamtkunstwerk. By exploring an established lyricist's work, together with my own it is my purpose to demonstrate that lyrics can be studied from both a theoretical and a creative perspective and therefore can be respected by scholars and audiences alike.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Social Sciences and Humanities
Supervisor(s): De Reuck, Jennifer and Tampalini, Serge
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