The Six Levels of Overlapping Melodies in Musicals

Musician Howard Ho explains the six distinct styles of overlapping melodies that are most prominently found in musical theater Ho had previously examined the Lin-Manuel Miranda song “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” from the Disney animated film Encanto.

We Don’t Talk About Bruno features overlapping melodies front and center, and I’m here for it. But where does it stack up in all the different levels of overlapping melodies in musical theatre? Let me break down one way of categorizing the 6 types of overlapping melodies and how they work!

This includes canon (simple melody with staggered starts), fugue ( a staggered start melody with each voice going in separate directions) accompaniment (the foundation upon which the overlapping melodies can rest), genre ( the melding of different styles within the same song), multi-genre (the melding of even more styles within the same song), and finaletto (overlapping melodies and reprisals of several songs within the same act of the show).

Ho also cites Johann Pachelbel, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, and Leonard Bernstein as composers who embraced these musical levels.

Here’s Ho’s earlier video about the song.

via Laughing Squid Tips

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