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date: 05 March 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores some of the influence Sondheim’s mentor Oscar Hammerstein II may have had on the composer. With close analysis of the ways in which lyric patterning guided the structure of the music in several Rodgers and Hammerstein shows, the chapter suggests that one of their primary contributions to musical theater was to structure the dramatic dynamic of a show into the score through a use of extended song-form. I note in particular the way this works in Carousel (1945), Allegro (1947), and South Pacific (1949). The chapter then speculates about how Sondheim has developed this technique through a modular montaging of scenes and through the creation of palindromic trajectories within a whole show in A Little Night Music (1973) and Sunday in the Park with George (1984).

Keywords: Sondheim, Hammerstein, mentor, influence, song form, structure, Carousel, Allegro, South Pacific, A Little Night Music, Sunday in the Park with George

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