Why is music important in a play?

Asked on by ljm3515

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Music is a language as well as an art--that is, it has a syntax, a vocabulary, connotation, etc. It augments or complicates the counter-language of theatre, and, because the two languages are expressed at the same time in the same space, the combined effect is magnified, especially emotionally. The two arts have been married for centuries, long before the opera form (for example, virtually all of Shakespeare's plays contain musical scenes/performances). The emotional reception of the social re-enactment in drama (imitation of an action in the form of action),is made viscerally, rather than intellectually, "dramatic."
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downrabbithole | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) eNoter

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Music helps influence the way people feel, thus swaying the audience to feel a certain way at a certain time. Scary music adds a sense of foreboding, while calm music adds a sense of serenity to the scene. In the context of musicals, the songs are paramount to the play and characters often sing when their emotions are too powerful to be put into words. Sometimes the style the music is written in reflects the time period it is set in as well.

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