Dialogic Form, Harmonic Schemata, and Expressive Meaning in the Songs of Broadway
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This thesis addresses the matter of convention in Broadway songs of the song and dance era. Composers worked with implicit, regular procedures in the commercial aesthetic of the 1920s and 1930s New York theater industry. However, discussions of formal convention in this repertoire have not gone much beyond the identification of AABA and ABAC forms. I explore how hypermeter and conventional formal layouts act as schemata. Through this lens, I advocate for an in-time, listener-based approach to form, attending to the stylistically learned projections and anticipations. Later on, I unpack many of the conventional patterns underlying the ABAC form. I argue that the ABAC form provides a template for climactic musical narratives, which places climaxes near the end of the form. Lastly, I focus on AABA form where I highlight many salient conventions of the AABA form and draw historical connections to AABA forms in rock and jazz.