Thematic unity in Steven [sic] Sondheim's Merrily we roll along
Brubaker, Gary E.
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The purpose of this study was to examine the themes and thematic material which Steve Sondheim used in Merrily We Roll Along and any interrelationships of the thematic material which would contribute to musical unity within the show. This thesis topic was chosen in an attempt to provide evidence that, melodically, Sondheim approaches a musical theater score as a single large work rather than as a collection of individual songs. This score was analyzed by identifying all of the primary melodic ideas. These melodic ideas, or themes, were then compared and their usage within the score was studied. From this, three major procedures of thematic unification were identified. First, melodic continuity is supported through the restatement of themes throughout the show. Second, unity is supported by similarities of motives within some of the themes. Third, unity is supported through the use of themes and thematic rhythms as accompaniment material.