Here for the Hearing

Analyzing the Music in Musical Theater
Michael Buchler and Gregory J. Decker, Editors
A scholarly music analysis book specifically focused on musical theater


This book offers a series of essays that show the integrated role that musical structure (including harmony, melody, rhythm, meter, form, and musical association) plays in making sense of what transpires onstage in musicals. Written by a group of music analysts who care deeply about musical theater, this collection provides new understanding of how musicals are put together, how composers and lyricists structure words and music to complement one another, and how music helps us understand the human relationships and historical and social contexts. Using a wide range of musical examples, representing the history of musical theater from the 1920s to the present day, the book explores how music interacts with dramatic elements within individual shows and other pieces within and outside of the genre. These essays invite readers to consider issues that are fundamental both to our understanding of musical theater and to the multiple ways we engage with music.
Michael Buchler is Professor of Music Theory at Florida State University.

Gregory J. Decker is Associate Professor of Music Theory at Bowling Green State University.

Praise / Awards

  • “This collection makes a significant contribution to the study of Anglophone musical theater by grounding discussions of meaning in the particulars of musical materials, using sophisticated methods developed by scholars of classical and popular music repertories. It touches on musicals old and new, traditional and experimental, conservative and progressive. It should inspire (if we’re lucky) even more such scholarship on this historically and culturally significant musical tradition.”
    —Christopher Doll, Rutgers University
  • “An important, timely, and engaging collection of essays on analytic approaches to the Broadway musical. The breadth of repertoire and analytical methodologies is impressive, and this reader learned something new from every essay.”
    —William Marvin, Eastman School of Music

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 310pp.
  • 92 examples, 19 figures, 4 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2023
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-13331-4

Add to Cart
  • $90.00 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2023
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03930-2

Add to Cart
  • $34.95 U.S.

  • Open Access
  • 2023
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-90353-5

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  • Musical theater, Musical theatre, Broadway, American music, show tunes, Tin Pan Alley, analysis, music theory, form, phrase structure, rhythm, harmony, semiotics, text and music, gender, Stephen Sondheim, Richard Rodgers, Oscar Hammerstein II, Leonard Bernstein, Frank Loesser, Jason Robert Brown, Jeanine Tesori