What makes a Good Musical Song

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 more 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?

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15 thoughts on “What makes a Good Musical Song

  1. When I hear a song that makes the hair on my neck stand up, I feel at peace. If only for a moment. Music is such an important part of my life. Great post.


    • Music is an important part of my life as well. Music is quite powerful capable of so many things. I wouldn’t have discovered the power of music if it wasn’t for contemporary Christian music and musicals


  2. 100% agree with everything in this post! Songs are definitely important to the construction of a musical! I think that lyrics are immensely important for the creation of a great musical song because I’m a person who primarily listens to lyrics!


    • The lyrics are highly important because they tell you what a song is about. Without the lyrics, the emotion wouldn’t even be existent


      • The lyrics also need to make sure they fit nicely into the melody. Musicals songs are one of the things that make me fall in love with either a character or a storyline or the musical as a whole


      • Yep, definitely! I would have to agree that songs play a big part in leading me to fall in love with plot and characters


      • Because of the songs are incredible, that leads me to falling with the characters and plot. But if the collection of songs are bad, it makes the plot and character feel kind of bland and that you have no desire to feel their emotions at all


      • Yeah. Even if I like the plot of a musical, it’s hard for me to like the musical itself if I don’t like the music


      • Thats what makes a musical well a musical. The songs are key to a wonderful and successful. The songs are what makes you appreciate both positive and negative emotions


      • Definitely agree. The songs and the certain sort of clarity that comes along with them is what makes musicals so special to me


      • All the musicals I love share the fact that I love the songs that come with them. That is what bonds them all together. I find joy loving the songs and the emotions that come with some.


  3. Pingback: Author Interview – Gordon C. Stewart – “Be Still!: Departure from Collective Madness” (Poetic Theological Essays on Politics, Pop Culture, Economy and Much More) | toofulltowrite (I've started so I'll finish)

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