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Encyclopedia > Melodrama

The word "melodrama" comes from the Greek word for song "melody", combined with "drama". Music is used to increase the emotional response or to suggest characters. There is a tidy structure or formula to melodrama: a villain poses a threat, the hero escapes the threat (or rescues the heroine) and there is a happy ending. In melodrama there is a constructed world of connotations. Poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914) This work is copyrighted. ... The Perils of Pauline was a silent movie serial which debuted in 1914. ... See also: 1913 in film 1914 1915 in film years in film film Events The 3,300-seat Strand Theater opens in New York City. ... Look up melody in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... For other uses, see Drama (disambiguation). ...

A melodrama in a more neutral and technical sense of the term is a play, film, or other work in which plot and action are emphasized in comparison to the more character-driven emphasis within a drama. Melodramas can be distinguished from tragedy by the fact that they are open to having a happy ending. For other uses, see Play (disambiguation). ... This article is about motion pictures. ... For other uses, see Drama (disambiguation). ... For other uses, see Tragedy (disambiguation). ... Happy ending may refer to: Happy ending in fiction, when everything turns out well in the end Happy Ending (story), a science-fiction story by Henry Kuttner Happy Ending (song), a song by London-based singer Mika Happy Ending (Fredric Brown), a science-fiction story and title of a collection...


Melodrama in opera and song

Originating in the 18th century, melodrama was a technique of using short pieces of music in contrast to, and sometimes accompanying, spoken drama. Jean-Jacques Rousseau's Pygmalion, with music by Horace Coignet, is generally regarded as the first example of the form. This was a monodrama. Written in 1762, this was first staged in Lyon in 1770. It was then taken up by Goethe in Weimar in 1772 with music by Anton Schweitzer. Some 30 other monodramas were produced in Germany in the fourth quarter of the 18th century. Rousseau redirects here. ... Pygmalion was a short play (scène lyrique) written in 1762 by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. ... A monodrama (also Solospiel in German; solo play) is a theatrical melodrama in which there is only one character. ... This article is about the French city. ... Johann Wolfgang von Goethe Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (pronounced [gø tə]) (August 28, 1749–March 22, 1832) was a German writer, politician, humanist, scientist, and philosopher. ... For other uses, see Weimar (disambiguation). ... Year 1772 (MDCCLXXII) was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Sunday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Anton Schweitzer (1735 - 1787) was a successful composer of operas. ...

Georg Benda developed the duodrama with his 1775 works Ariadne auf Naxos and Medea and this form of melodrama was taken up by other composers, notably Mozart in Zaide and Thamos, König in Ägypten and Carl Maria von Weber in Der Freischütz. The technique was also used in lieder and song. Georg Anton [Jiří Antonin] Benda (June 30, 1722–November 6, 1795) was a Bohemian-German kapellmeister and composer. ... Year 1775 (MDCCLXXV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display the full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar (or a common year starting on Thursday of the 11-day slower Julian calendar). ... Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (January 27, 1756 – December 5, 1791) was one of the most significant and influential of all composers of Western classical music. ... Zaide is an opera, K. 344, written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in 1780. ... Thamos, König in Ägypten (Thamos, King of Egypt, or King Thamos, in English) is a play by Tobias Philipp, baron von Gebler, for which, between 1773 and 1780, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart wrote incidental music, K. 345/336a, of an operatic character. ... Carl Maria von Weber Carl Maria Friedrich Ernst, Freiherr von Weber (November 18, 1786 in Eutin, Holstein – June 5, 1826 in London, England) was a German composer, conductor, pianist and critic, one of the first significant composers of the Romantic school. ... Der Freischütz (English: The Freeshooter) is an opera in three acts by Carl Maria von Weber to a libretto by Friedrich Kind. ... Lied (plural Lieder) is a German word, literally meaning song; among English speakers, however, it is used primarily as a term for European classical music songs, also known as art songs. Typically, Lieder are arranged for a single singer and piano. ...

By the end of the 19th century the term melodrama had nearly exclusively narrowed down to a specific genre of salon entertainment: more or less rhythmically spoken words (often poetry) - not sung, sometimes more or less enacted, at least with some dramatic structure or plot - synchronized to an accompaniment of music (usually piano). It was looked down on as a genre for authors and composers of lesser stature (probably also the reason why virtually no realisations of the genre are still remembered). This was probably also the time when the connotation of cheap overacting first became associated with the term. As a cross-over genre mixing narration and chamber music it was eclipsed nearly overnight by a single composition: Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire (1912), where Sprechstimme was used instead of rhythmically spoken words and which took a freer and more imaginative course regarding the plot prerogatives. Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... A genre [], (French: kind or sort from Greek: γένος (genos)) is a loose set of criteria for a category of literary composition; the term is also used for any other form of art or utterance. ... Look up plot in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article or section is in need of attention from an expert on the subject. ... Arnold Schoenberg, Los Angeles, 1948 Arnold Schoenberg (the anglicized form of Schönberg — Schoenberg changed the spelling officially when he left Germany and re-converted to Judaism in 1933; September 13, 1874 – July 13, 1951) was an Austrian and later American composer. ... Dreimal sieben Gedichte aus Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire, (three times seven poems from Albert Girauds Pierrot lunaire), commonly known as Pierrot Lunaire (Moonstruck Pierrot or Pierrot in the moonlight), Op. ... 1912 (MCMXII) was a leap year starting on Monday in the Gregorian calendar (or a leap year starting on Tuesday in the 13-day-slower Julian calendar). ... Sprechgesang (German for speech song) or Sprechstimme (speech voice) is a technique of vocal production halfway between singing and speaking. ...

A few musicals and operettas contain melodramas in this sense of music played under spoken dialogue, for instance, Gilbert and Sullivan's Ruddigore (itself a parody of melodramas in the modern sense) has a short "melodrame" (reduced to dialogue alone in many productions) in the second act;[1] Jacques Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld opens with a melodrama delivered by the chararacter of "Public Opinion"; and other pieces from operetta and musicals may be considered melodramas, such as the "Recit and Minuet"[2] in Gilbert and Sullivan's Sorcerer. In musicals, several long speeches in Lerner and Loewe's Brigadoon are delivered to the accompaniment of rather beautiful, evocative music. The Black Crook (1866) is considered the first musical comedy Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining music, songs, spoken dialogue and dance. ... Operetta is a genre of light opera, light in terms both of music and subject matter. ... W. S. Gilbert Arthur Sullivan Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian era partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). ... Ruddigore, or The Witchs Curse, is a comic opera in two acts, with music by Arthur Sullivan and libretto by W. S. Gilbert. ... Jacques Offenbach (20 June 1819 – 5 October 1880) was a French composer and cellist of the Romantic era with German-Jewish descent and one of the originators of the operetta form. ... Orpheus in the Underworld (in French: Orphée aux enfers) is an opéra bouffe (or opéra féerie in its revised version) in two acts by Jacques Offenbach. ... W. S. Gilbert Arthur Sullivan Gilbert and Sullivan refers to the Victorian era partnership of librettist W. S. Gilbert (1836–1911) and composer Arthur Sullivan (1842–1900). ... The Sorcerer is a two-act comic opera, with a libretto by W. S. Gilbert and music by Arthur Sullivan. ... Alan Jay Lerner (August 31, 1918 – June 14, 1986) was an American Broadway lyricist and librettist. ... Frederic Loewe (June 10, 1901 - February 14, 1988) was a highly successful Austrian-American composer. ... DVD cover Brigadoon is a musical by Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe, first produced in 1947. ...

In a similar manner, Victorians often added "incidental music" under the dialogue to a pre-existing play. This type of often lavish production is now mostly limited to film (see film score) due to the cost of hiring an orchestra. Modern recording technology is producing a certain revival of the practice in theatre, but not on the former scale. Incidental music is music in a play, television program, radio program or some other form not primarily musical. ... A score is a set of musical compositions written to accompany a film. ...

A particularly complete version of the older form, Sullivan's incidental music to Tennyson's The Foresters is available online,[3] complete with several melodramas, for instance, No. 12 found here.[4] Sir Arthur Seymour Sullivan (May 13, 1842–November 22, 1900) was a British composer best known for his operatic collaborations with librettist William S. Gilbert. ... Lord Tennyson, Poet Laureate Alfred Tennyson, 1st Baron Tennyson (August 6, 1809 - October 6, 1892) is generally regarded as one of the greatest English poets. ... Birch trees in Sherwood Forest The Foresters is a set of incidental music in nine movements composed in 1891 by Arthur Sullivan for a play written by Alfred Tennyson called The Foresters, or, Robin Hood and Maid Marian. ...

The John Williams' score to Star Wars, and Korngold's score to The Adventures of Robin Hood are excellent examples of the modern usage. For other persons named John Williams, see John Williams (disambiguation). ... This article is about the series. ... Korngold conducting the Warner Brothers studio orchestra (Rhino Records) Erich Wolfgang Korngold (May 29, 1897 – November 29, 1957) was a 20th century romantic composer. ... The Adventures of Robin Hood is an American film released in 1938 and directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley. ...

The classic and contemperary melodramas are still very popular in todays society.

Victorian Stage Melodrama

According to Michael Booth in his classic study English Melodrama the Victorian stage melodrama featured a limited number of stock characters: the hero, the villain, the heroine, an old man, an old woman, a comic man and a comic woman engaged in a sensational plot featuring themes of Love and Murder. Often the good but not very clever hero is duped by a scheming villain, who has eyes on the damsel in distress until fate intervenes at the end to ensure the triumph of good over evil. A poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ...

The first English play to be called a melodrama or 'melodrame' was A Tale of Mystery (1802) by Thomas Holcroft. This was an example of the Gothic genre, a previous theatrical example of which was The Castle Spectre (1797) by Matthew Gregory Lewis. English melodrama was influenced by German Sturm und Drang drama and Parisian melodrama of the post-Revolutionary period (Booth 1991: 151). Other examples of early Gothic melodramas include The Miller and his Men (1813) by Isaac Pocock, The Woodsman's Hut (1814) by Samuel Arnold and The Broken Sword (1816) by William Dimond. Another popular sub-genre, beginning in the 1820's, was the nautical melodrama such as The Red Rover (1829) by Edward Fitzball and Black-Eyed Susan (1829) by Jerrold. Later melodramas developed domestic and urban situations such as The Streets of London (1864) and The Corsican Brothers by Dion Boucicault; and Lost in London (1867). The villain was always the central character in melodrama and crime was a favorite theme. This included dramatisations of the murderous careers of Burke and Hare, Sweeney Todd (Sweeny Todd the Demon Barber of Fleet Street (1842) by George Dibdin Pitt), the murder of Maria Marten in the Red Barn and the bizarre exploits of Spring Heeled Jack. Early silent films, such as The Perils of Pauline had similar themes. Later, after silent films were superseded by the 'talkies', stage actor Tod Slaughter, at the age of 50, transferred to the screen the Victorian melodramas in which he had played villain in his earlier theatrical career. These films, which include Maria Marten or Murder in the Red Barn and Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street are a unique record of a bygone art-form. Thomas Holcroft (December 10, 1745 - March 23, 1809) was an English dramatist and miscellaneous writer. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Gothic novel. ... Matthew Gregory Lewis (July 9, 1775 - May 14, 1818) was an English novelist and dramatist, often referred to as Monk Lewis, because of the success of his Gothic novel, The Monk. ... Sturm und Drang (literally: storm and stress) was a Germany literary movement that developed during the latter half of the 18th century. ... Samuel Arnold (1740 - October 22, 1802) was a British composer. ... Edward Fitzball (1792 - 27th October 1873) was an English dramatist, whose real patronymic was Ball, was born at Burwell, Cambridgeshire. ... Jerrold may refer to: In literature: Douglas William Jerrold, English dramatist and writer Jerrold David Friedman, award-winning science fiction author who started his career in 1966 William Blanchard Jerrold, English journalist and author In television: Jerrold Electronics, provider of cable television equipment Jerrold Immel, United States television composer In... Poster for a production of Boucicaults farce Contempt of Court, c. ... William Burke (d. ... For other uses, see Sweeney Todd (disambiguation). ... The Red Barn, scene of the murder, so called because of its half red-tiled roof. ... For other uses, see Spring Heeled Jack (disambiguation). ... The Perils of Pauline was a silent movie serial which debuted in 1914. ... Tod Slaughter (19 March 1885 - 19 February 1956) was an English film actor, known for playing over-the-top maniacs in macabre Victorian settings in films. ... Maria Marten or Murder in the Red Barn is a 1935 British film melodrama starring Tod Slaughter and directed by Milton Rosmer. ...

Current use

Melodrama is ubiquitous on television: it is evident, for example, in a long series of TV movies about diseases or domestic violence, or the large number of hour-long television programs about lawyers, police officers, or physicians. A television movie (also TV movie, TV-movie, made-for-TV movie, etc. ... For the fish called lawyer, see Burbot. ... For other uses, see Doctor. ...

Issues melodrama is a subspecies of melodrama in which current events or politics are given a dramatic treatment, hoping to use some recent crime or controversy as a vehicle to draw an emotional response from the viewer. The usual method is to involve lawyers, police officers, or physicians, who can then make speeches about the crime or controversy being dramatized. By this artifice, the dramatist seeks to engage the audience's recently refreshed sense of fear or moral disapproval, while simultaneously maintaining the posture that the drama so produced is timely and socially engaged.

Action melodrama is another subgenre of melodrama that is particularly prevalent in the action Hollywood film blockbuster. An athletic action hero is pitted against an evil villain, and through a bevy of fights, car chases, love scenes and splatter, the hero overcomes the villain and restores the balance of good in the universe. This subgenre often includes a heroine who fights then falls in love with the hero. Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger are examples of the stars of these action melodramatic flicks. Blockbuster, as applied to film or theater, denotes a very popular and/or successful production. ... Bad guy redirects here. ... Sylvester Stallone (born Sylvester Gardenzio Stallone on July 6, 1946) is a two-time Academy Award-nominated American actor, director, producer and screenwriter. ... Arnold Alois Schwarzenegger (German pronunciation IPA: ) (born July 30, 1947) is an Austrian-born American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, currently serving as the 38th Governor of the U.S. state of California. ...

Informal use / Slang Casual use of the word as an adjective translates to exaggerated emotional affect display or ways of expressing oneself. For example: "Don't be so melodramatic!" This has fallen into common parlance. In psychology, affect display or affective display is a subjects externally displayed affect. ...

See also

A poster for The Perils of Pauline (1914). ... The first TIME cover devoted to soap operas: Dated January 12, 1976, Bill Hayes and Susan Seaforth Hayes of Days of our Lives are featured with the headline Soap Operas: Sex and suffering in the afternoon. A soap opera is an ongoing, episodic work of fiction, usually broadcast on television... A legal drama is a work of dramatic fiction about law, crime, punishment or the legal profession. ... It has been suggested that this article be split into multiple articles accessible from a disambiguation page. ... Moment of Truth Movies are a series of TV movies produced for the Lifetime cable television and movie networks during the 1990s. ... Kitsch is a term of German origin that has been used to categorize art that is considered an inferior copy of an existing style. ... Camp is an aesthetic in which something has appeal because of its bad taste or ironic value. ...


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  Results from FactBites:
Melodrama Films (1764 words)
Melodrama, a combination of drama and melos (music), literally means "play with music." The themes of dramas, the oldest literary and stage art form, were exaggerated within melodramas, and the liberal use of music often enhanced their emotional plots.
Melodramas were the prime form of dramas until they were overtaken by straight-forward, realistic dramatic forms in the 50s and afterwards, although they continue to occasionally appear into the present.
One of the earliest melodramas was director Frank Powell's silent film (based upon a stage play) titled A Fool There Was (1915), with Theda Bara (in her star-making film debut) cast as an evil, dark, wicked and mysterious vampire who seductively lures a weak-willed family man away and controls his heart with her sexy wiles.
  More results at FactBites »



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