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Key change – the technique of shifting keys in the middle of a song to add interest or build dramatic intensity; also known as Modulation.

Lead sheet – a sheet of music which contains melody, lyrics and simple chord symbols from which the soloist can sing and the accompanist, usually a pianist or small combo, can improvise from chords given.

Legs – theatrical slang for the side curtains on the stage.

Librettist – person who writes the poetry or lyrics of the song.

Lighting – the aspect of the stage performance in which the intensity, aiming, coloring or diffusing of the lights lends to the visual focus and emotional moment onstage.

List song – a type of comic song that derives its humor from a long list of items recited by the character.

Love ballad – a solo or duet in which the characters express their emotions and feelings for another character in the musical.

Lyrics – the words for a song.

Lyricist – the person responsible for writing the lyrics to the song, partnering with the composer, they collaborate to create songs.

Lyrical singing – a smooth style of singing which emphasizes a graceful, beautiful vocal sound.

Merchandising – the selling of consumer goods associated with a particular show that helps to maximize the show’s popularity and aid in its financial success.

Mezzo-soprano – a female voice type which is medium in range and is pitched between the higher soprano and the lower alto voices.

Minstrel show – a 19th-century stage form created by African-American performers which was a plot-less variety form incorporating songs, skits, stories, and dances. Together with the French vaudeville and the English operetta forms, the American minstrel show helped to prepare for the creation of the American musical theatre form in the first decade of the 20th century.

Modulation – see Key change

Music hall – A 19th- and early 20th-century English form of the French vaudeville stage work with a greater emphasis on music; also can refer to the physical location of the performance.

Musical theater – (also spelled musical theatre) – a type of sung play performance which could be dramatic or comic in nature; more commercially popular than the classical opera or operetta.

Narrator – a person, whose purpose is to explain a scene or its background, provides plot continuity between scenes or gives commentary about a character or situation.

Nut – Broadway slang for the weekly costs of presenting a show.

Obie Awards – the awards given to performers and those productions that are presented in the off-Broadway theaters of New York.

Offstage – the area of the stage behind the curtains and out of view of the audience; also called “backstage.”

Off-Broadway – smaller theaters of New York that are geographically located outside the area known as “Broadway.”

Olivier Awards – the British theatre awards named for the British actor Sir Lawrence Olivier, also known as the “Larrys” as compared to the American “Tonys.”

Opening night – the first official public performance of a show.

Operetta – a British form of comic opera which was popular in the 19th century; the operetta, unlike the opera, included spoken dialogue between the sung portions of the show.

Orchestra – an ensemble of instrumentalists that provide musical accompaniment for the singers onstage. The orchestra, which usually performs in the pit area below the stage, also plays incidental music between scenes, the overture to Act I, the Entr’acte between subsequent acts, music during bows and following the performance.

Orchestration – the collective instrumental parts that are created from the piano part provided by the composer.

Orchestrator – the musical arranger who creates instrumental parts from the composer’s piano score.

Original cast album (or CD) – a recording made by the musical’s original performers of the musical portions of the show.

Overture – introductory music played after the audience has arrived but before the first curtain goes up; most often uses portions of melodies and musical ideas which appear later in the show.

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Study Units

An Overview

Ch. 1: Understanding Pitch

Ch. 2: Understanding Musical Pulse

Ch. 3: Understanding Volume

Ch. 4: Understanding Tone

Ch. 5: Understanding Melody

Ch. 6: Understanding Harmony

Ch. 7: Understanding Rhythm

Ch. 8: Understanding Bass

Ch. 9: Understanding Countermelody

Ch. 10: Understanding Structure

Ch. 11: Understanding Instrumentation

Ch. 12: Understanding Tempo

An Overview

Ch. 1: 19th Century: Pre-Foster

Ch. 2: Folk Music by the People

Ch. 3: Popular Music in its Infancy

Ch. 4: Stephen Foster – “Father of American Popular Music”

Ch. 5: The Importance of Stephen Foster

Ch. 6: Scott Joplin – “King of Ragtime”

Ch. 7: The Player Piano – Automated Music

Ch. 8: John Philip Sousa – “The March King”

Ch. 9: John Philip Sousa – Recording Artist and Activist

An Overview

Ch. 1: John Lomax – Recording American Roots Music

Ch. 2: Woody Guthrie – “Father of Modern American Folk Music”

Ch. 3: Leadbelly & Pete Seeger: End of the First Wave

Ch. 4: The Kingston Trio – Beginning of the Second Wave

Ch. 5: Joan Baez – “First Lady of Folk Music”

Ch. 6: Peter, Paul & Mary – Balancing the Message

Ch. 7: Robert Zimmerman – The Beginning of an American Icon

Ch. 8: Dylan in New York City

Ch. 9: Dylan after Newport

Ch. 10: The Importance of Dylan

Ch. 11: Folk Music in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: The Roots of Country

Ch. 2: Bristol Beginnings

Ch. 3: The Grand Ole Opry

Ch. 4: Cowboys and the Movies

Ch. 5: Western Swing

Ch. 6: Bluegrass: Hillbilly on Caffeine

Ch. 7: Honky-tonk: Merging Two into One

Ch. 8: The Nashville Sound: Country-Pop

Ch. 9: Rockabilly – Country meets R&B

Ch. 10: Country Feminists Find Their Voice

Ch. 11: The Bakersfield Sound

Ch. 12: Austin “Outlaw” Country

Ch. 13: Neo-Traditionalists at the end of the 20th Century

Ch. 14: Mainstreaming Country in the ‘90s

Ch. 15: Redesigning Country in the 21st Century

An Overview

Ch. 1: What is Jazz?

Ch. 2: Before It Was Jazz

Ch. 3: Jazz is Born!

Ch. 4: Early Jazz Musicians

Ch. 5: Louis Armstrong

Ch. 6: Chicago and Harlem – Hub of 1920s Jazz

Ch. 7: Big Band – Jazz Swing!

Ch. 8: Big Band Musicians and Singers

Ch. 9: Jump Blues and Bop

Ch. 10: Cool Jazz

Ch. 11: Hard Bop

Ch. 12: Free Jazz – Breaking the Rules

Ch. 13: Fusion – The Jazz-Rock-Funk Experience

Ch. 14: Third Stream and World Jazz

Ch. 15: New Age & Smooth Jazz

Ch. 16: Summary – Jazz Lives!

An Overview

Ch. 1: Blues – The Granddaddy of American Popular Music

Ch. 2: Where Did the Blues Come From?

Ch. 3: What Are the Blues?

Ch. 4: How to Build the Blues

Ch. 5: Classic Blues – The Early Years

Ch. 6: Delta Blues – Authentic Beginnings

Ch. 7: Blues in the City – Migration and Power

Ch. 8: Blues in Britain – Redefining the Masters

Ch. 9: Contemporary Blues – Maturity and Respect

Ch. 10: The Relevancy of the Blues Today

Ch. 1: Timelines, Cultures & Technology

Ch. 2: Pre-Rock Influences

Ch. 3: Rock is Born!

Ch. 4: Rock is Named

Ch. 5: Doo-Wop

Ch. 6: Independent Record Labels

Ch. 7: Technology Shapes Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 8: The Plan to Mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Payola – Rock ‘n’ Roll’s First Scandal

Ch. 1: Crafting Sound in the Studio/Producers and Hit Songs

Ch. 2: West Coast Sound: Beach, Surf, and Teens

Ch. 3: The British Invasion: Two Prongs – Pop & Blues

Ch. 4: Motown and the Development of a Black Pop-Rock Sound

Ch. 5: Soul Music: Gospel and R&B in the Deep South

Ch. 6: The Sounds of Bubble Gum Pop-Rock

Ch. 7: The Arrival of Folk-Rock

Ch. 8: Psychedelic Rock ‘n’ Roll

Ch. 9: Early Guitar Gods of Rock

Ch. 10: Rock Festivals: The Rise and Fall of Music, Peace, and Love

Ch. 11: Anti-Woodstock and Shock Rock Movements

Ch. 1: Technological Breakthroughs

Ch. 2: Electronic Dance Music

Ch. 3: Hip-Hop & Rap – An Introduction

Ch. 4: The Beginnings of Rap

Ch. 5: Old School Rap – Up From the Streets

Ch. 6: Rap’s Golden Age

Ch. 7: East Coast – Political Rap

Ch. 8: West Coast – Gangsta Rap

Ch. 9: The Fragmentation of Rap – Pop, Party & More

Ch. 10: Further Fragmentation – Different Directions

Ch. 11: The Importance of Rap

Ch. 1: Musical Stage Productions in America before the 1800s

Ch. 2: Minstrel Shows and Melodramas

Ch. 3: Stage Presentations in the Late 19th Century

Ch. 4: Early 20th Century: Revues and Operettas

Ch. 5: The Arrival of the Modern American Musical

Ch. 6: Great Partnerships in Book-Musicals

Ch. 7: Musical Theatre Composers in the mid-Century

Ch. 8: Fresh Voices on the Stage in the 1960s

Ch. 9: Two Dominant Forces at the End of the Century

Ch. 10: New Voices at the End of the Century

Ch. 11: New Voices, New Sounds in the New Century

Ch. 12: Musical Theatre Glossary

Ch. 13: Is it “Theatre” or “Theater”?

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