In this article, I’ll try to explain you what musical is about and at the same time, talk about the technical aspects that come with it. Technically speaking, this is the form of musical theatre art has a blend of dancing, music, songs as well as spoken dialogue. Some would say that it looks like an opera but, it intentionally avoids its convention to be able to give it a universal appeal.
As for the musical components used in a musical, it is all called as a score. Sung lines are being referred as lyrics compared to plain spoken dialogue which is just dialogue. It often happens that there are two different people who wrote the lyrics of the musical and its storyline. The truth is, this becomes a norm in different musical plays.
Musicals can last for few minutes all the way to couple of hours long. Average running time for the modern musicals on the other hand is around 2 hours and 30 minutes with intermission halfway through the entire presentation. Some musicals however go straight through if it isn’t that long. Intermissions when presented are about 10 to 15 minutes long and the average musicals have 20 or 30 songs with some short pieces while others are long.
Majority of the musicals are starting with an overture which is used to put emphasis on some songs that are used in the play and also, used to set the tone of the play and mood of the audience. Oftentimes, the highlights and the most dramatic moments of the musicals are carried out in a song. The reason for this is that, these are the moments in which the creators like you to remember the most and it’s easier to remember if it’s a properly executed 3 to 4 minute song than it is recalling 3 to 4 minute spoken dialogue. If ever the emotion that has to be conveyed is so strong even for a song, then in such cases when dance is added or put in place of singing.
As a matter of fact, being able to strike balance between song and spoken dialogue seems easy but it is the exact opposite. The writer in addition has to be careful when writing songs for every character. For instance, an evil villain character isn’t going to sing songs pertaining to love and happiness. It is hard to establish drama in a musical too since a 5 minute song has fewer words to say than a 5 minute spoken dialogue. Having said that, it is crucial to plan things carefully for the musical to be done perfectly.