Higher Studies in Music


The Rise of Musicals in The Modern Era

The musical theatre genre has been around for centuries, but it has exploded in popularity in the past few decades. In the modern era, musicals have become a popular medium for storytelling, and have been used to express a variety of different emotions and ideas.

Musicals are generally categorized by their style: operettas, comedies, dramas, etc.—and they have various purposes: to entertain, to educate people about a historical event or cultural phenomenon. Musicals can also be categorized by their structure: traditional Broadway-type musicals or more experimental ones that break from tradition.

In this section, we will explore some of the most well-known and popular modern musicals from Broadway and beyond.

1. Introduction to Musical Theatre

A musical theatre is a form of theatrical performance that incorporates songs and dance. It is a popular form of entertainment today, but it has been around for quite some time.

Musical theatre was first introduced in the 19th century as a hybrid of operatic and theatrical styles. The first Broadway musical was called ‘The Black Crook’ and was written by composer Louis A. Hirsch and lyricist Lew Brown.

Musical theatre has changed a lot over the years with new genres, new styles, and new storylines being introduced from different cultures from all over the world.


2. What are the Most Common Instruments in Musical Theatre?

A musical theatre is a form of theatre that combines acting, singing, and dancing. It emerged around the time of the First World War. Musical theatre includes many types of musical instruments including orchestral instruments, keyboard instruments, wind instruments, percussion instruments and vocalists.

Some of the most common musical instruments in musical theater are drums, guitars, pianos and violins.


3. The Pit Orchestra


As the word “Pit” suggests, this Orchestra is usually situated near the front of the stage in a theatre. However, in some cases, it can also be found on the sides as well. This is mainly done to not interfere with the vision of the audience.


Due to the size and financial constraints, Pit Orchestra musicians are usually jack of multiple trades. There are musicians who should be capable of playing at least two instruments. For example, a guitarist may be required to be in charge of other stringed instruments, similarly, a flute player could be required to play other similar instruments like a clarinet.


Fun Fact: Symphony Orchestra of India, founded in 2006, is the only professional Orchestra in India. It is based out of National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Mumbai.

4. Why are Musicals Popular Today?

A musical theatre is a form of art that combines music, lyrics, and the spoken word to tell a story. It’s an old form of storytelling but it has endured through multiple generations.

Musicals are popular because they offer the opportunity for people to perform, learn about vocal techniques, and work with other professionals on collaborative projects. They are also attracting new young audiences looking for something different from traditional Broadway fare.

5. How was Musical Theatre Different 100 Years ago?


From the introduction of electrification and sound recording in the early 1900s to Broadway musicals, there has been quite a lot of change in musical theatre.

In the early 20th century, musical theatre changed drastically. This change was spurred by technological advancements such as sound recordings and electrification. The introduction of these advancements gave producers more control over their productions and allowed them to create bigger and better shows that audiences craved.

This trend continued into the mid-century with shows like South Pacific which won 9 Tony Awards in 1949 – a record that still stands today.


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