The last big solo in a show for the leading character. Usually occurs late in Act 2 and marks the pinnacle of his or her emotional and musical journey. Examples include “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy (1959), “If He Walked Into My Life” from Mame (1964) and “The American Dream” from Miss Saigon (1989).
50's Rock and Roll Style:
Songs or shows that were either composed during the 1950s and use this style (think Elvis), or are a parody or pastiche of this style. Shows include All Shook Up (2005 Elvis Presley jukebox musical). Songs include “Freddy My Love” from Grease (1972). May be either up-tempo or ballad in style. Great audition material for shows such as Grease, All Shook Up, Smokey Joe's Cafe etc.
60's Pop-Rock Style:
Songs or shows that were either composed during the 1960s and use this style or are a parody or pastiche of this style. Shows Include Hair (1969). Songs include: “Good Morning Baltimore” from Hairspray (2002). May be either up-tempo or ballad in style. Ideal for shows such as Hair, Hairspray, Jersey Boys, JesusChrist Superstar etc. Singing style is often very "clean" with emphasis on percussive beats.
70's Pop-Rock Style:
Songs or shows that were either composed during the 1970s and use this style or are a parody or pastiche of this style. Shows include Jesus Christ Superstar (1971). Songs include “The Winner Takes it All” from Mama Mia (1999 Abba jukebox musical featuring music from the 1970s). May be either up-tempo or ballad in style. Ideal for shows such as Saturday Night Fever, The Wiz, Godspell, Pippin, A Chorus Line, Mama Mia etc.
80's Pop-Rock Style:
Songs or shows that were either composed during the 1980s and use this style or are a parody or pastiche of this style. Shows include Blood Brothers (1983). Songs include “Anthem” from Chess (1988). May be either up-tempo or ballad in style. Ideal for shows such as Chess, Miss Saigon, Moving Out, We Will RockYou, Wedding Singer and Footloose etc. Singing style may be quite rangy, epic and often involve straight tone singing.
Act 1 closer:
A song that comes at the end of Act 1. A musical and dramatic milestone for a character with a wider emotional and musical arc than what he or she has sung to this point. Examples include: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from Gypsy (1959), “And I’m Telling You” from Dreamgirls (1982) and “Defying Gravity” from Wicked 2005.
actor who sings:
Songs geared toward actors for whom singing is not their prime focus. These songs are often more spoken than sung, have smaller vocal ranges and are written as character songs. Examples include “I’m an Ordinary Man” from My Fair Lady (1956) or “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music (1973).
Songs that use profanity or other explicit terms. Examples include: “Sodomy” from Hair (1967) and “Everything Else” from Next to Normal (2008).
adult playing child/teen:
Songs/Shows in which the character's age is a child or teenager under 17, but the vocal and/or dramatic demands of the role require an actor who is older to play it. Examples include "My Friend The Dictionary" from 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005) or You'reA Good Man, Charlie Brown (1968).
Song that include references to drugs, sex, mental disorders and other volatile topics. Often, but not always, they include adult language. Examples include “If You Were Gay” from Avenue Q (2003) and “The Acid Queen” from Tommy (1969).
Songs or shows composed during the 20th and 21st centuries, usually employing legitimate or classically trained voices for many of the roles. Vocal ranges are often larger than for most typical musical theater songs and the technical and musical demands are more pronounced. Works may also be less tonal harmonically and melodically. Examples include "Promise Me Tommy" from The Grapes of Wrath (2007), "The Promise Of Living" from The Tender Land (1954) and Lizzie Borden (1965).
Songs or shows composed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, usually employing legitimate or classically trained voices for many of the roles. Also refers to parodies or pastiches of this period and this style. Examples include “Lover Come Back to Me” from The New Moon (1927), “Please Don’t Touch Me” from Young Frankenstein (2007) and Rose Marie (1924). The American Operetta style begins to wane around 1927 with the production of Show Boat.
Songs that musically or thematically invoke the traditional sound and style of the United States. Think wide open spaces, freedom, etc. Examples include: “76 Trombones” from The Music Man (1957) and “The Old Red Hills of Home” from Parade (1998).
Songs that convey anger, rage, fury or vengeance, whether in a loud or reserved dynamic range. Examples include: “Just You Wait” from My Fair Lady (1956)and “Superboy and The Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal (2008).
Songs that are sung by an Asian character. Some such songs may be sung by non-Asian performers, some not. Examples include “I Enjoy Being a Girl” from Flower Drum Song (1958/Wider Ethnic Range) and “I’d Give My Life for You” from Miss Saigon (1989/Strictly Asian).
Songs or shows where an Asian accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “The More You Ruv Someone” from Avenue Q (2005) and “Bali Hai” from South Pacific (1949).
The lower of the two common male singing voices. Often grouped together due to overlap in range and color. Comfortable baritone range can be G2 to G4, with bass range stretching from E2 to E4.
Songs in which the singer uses the higher part of his or her vocal range combined with a loud and strong dynamic. Examples include “I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls (1982), “Some People” from Gypsy (1959) and “Heaven on Their Minds” from Jesus Christ Superstar (1971).
Songs or shows specifically created for a black performer or performers. Some such songs may be sung by non-black performers, some not. Examples include: “I’m Not Going” from Dreamgirls (1982, strictly black), “Colored Spade” from Hair (1967, strictly black) and “Build a Bridge” from Myths and Hymns (1998, wider ethnic range).
Songs that employ a large portion of its grammar and phonology with the rural dialects of the Southern United States, OR may also evoke an urban streetwise language. Some songs were originally sung by white actors. Songs include: "Ain't It De Truth" from Jamaica (1957), "Old Man River" from Showboat (1927) and "It Ain't Necessarily So" from Porgy and Bess (1937).
Songs that employ elements of the blues scale, including the lowered seventh, the blues structure (I, IV, V, I) or have a heavier, sadder feel to them. Often combined with jazzy or torch song. Usually slower in tempo. Examples include “Why Can’t You Behave” from Kiss Me Kate (1948) and “Maybe This Time” from Cabaret (1972 film).
Songs or shows where a British accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady (1956), “Electricity” from Billy Elliot (2005) or HMS Pinafore (1878).
Songs or shows composed during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, usually employing legitimate or classically trained voices, or shows that are a parody or a pastiche of this period and style. Also, songs and shows that employ British accents. Examples include “Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance (1879), “Veggie Reggie” from Charlotte Sweet (1982) and The Mikado (1885).
Songs using an accompaniment with a “boom-chick” feel. Usually associated with faster tempos. Tempo markings may be 2/2, 2/4 or 4/4. Examples include “Oklahoma” from Oklahoma (1943) and “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady (1956).
Songs that are overly exaggerated, larger than life, mannered, self-parodying or of questionable taste. Sometimes but not always performed by gay performers. Examples include: “Be a Dentist” from Little Shop of Horrors” (1982), and “They Don’t Know” from Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002). Many songs that are written for women often become campy when performed by a man.
The age range of the character. This information is culled either from an agent’s listing, the description of the character on the licensing firm’s website or the actual chronological age of the actor playing the role when the show premiered. The range can be narrow or somewhat wider depending on the role and the show.
Songs that have an ease, elegance and old-fashioned charm to them. Rarely contemporary. Usually for a male actor. Examples include: “Leaning on a Lamppost” from Me and My Girl (1937) and “Come Along With Me” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (2004).
Suitable for an actor under the age of 13. Examples include “Where Is Love” from Oliver (1960) and “Gary Indiana” from The Music Man (1957). If the song is for a male, it usually is sung before his voice changes.
Songs or shows that are written as college productions or reviews. The cast is predominantly male and play both sexes and a variety of ages. Shows include Boodle & Co. (1904 written at Princeton), Devil to Pay (1904 written at MIT) and "Almost" from The Fair Co-Ed (Harvard 1913)
A song with lyrics meant to cause laughter or amusement.
This section will always give a brief synopsis of each song and who sings it. Additional remarks about suggested cuts, other recommended songs and additional sources for the song are also often included.
The person who writes the music for the show. Examples include Stephen Sondheim, George Gershwin and Jason Robert Brown.
Songs or shows composed from the late 1990’s post Rent (1996), to the present day. Examples include “Defying Gravity” from Wicked (2005), “Follow Your Heart” from Urinetown (2001) Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (2010) and Grey Gardens (2009).
A song that is the opposite in mood and tempo from a previous selection. On this site the contrasting song option will only appear when a user has selected Easy-Ballad or Up-Tempo as a tempo and/or either Comedic or Serious.
Songs in which the singing style resembles natural talking, featuring short, clipped phrases, often rhythmic in nature. Examples include “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music (1973) and “Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man (1957).
Songs or shows written in the country-Western style. Songs include “River in the Rain” from Big River (1985). Shows include Big River (1985) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978). Great for shows like Hands on A Hardbody, Big River, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Bright Star.
Songs shows in which se of a country-Western or a Southern accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “Doin’ What Comes Naturally” from Annie Get Your Gun (1948), Oklahoma (1943) and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978).
Songs that take a world-weary, bored, slightly frustrated point of view or convey ennui. Examples include “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company (1970), “Look at Me I’m Sandra Dee” from Grease (1972) and “Sunday” from Tick Tick Boom. (2001).
Songs containing a substantial amount of dance music, often written for a dancer. Examples include: “All That Jazz” from Chicago (1975) and “The Music and the Mirror” from A Chorus Line (1975).
Songs that are geared towards a performer who's primary strength is dance. The songs are often simpler and have a smaller vocal range.
Songs that include spoken dialog. Also often referred to as interstitial dialog. Examples include “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and “Wilkommen” from Cabaret (1966).
difficulty for accompanist:
1 (Easiest) to 5 (Most Difficult). (Levels 1-3 are acceptable songs to bring to audition for a salaried position).
difficulty for accompanist 1:
A song that is a standard in the musical theater canon and is available in easy-to-read printed formats. Any pianist at any audition should be able to play these selections.
difficulty for accompanist 2:
A song that is less standard, yet still easy to read from an original score. Most audition pianists will have little or no difficulty playing these.
difficulty for accompanist 3:
Songs that are less standard or established songs and may require an accompanist to read from hand-written material. The handwritten material may require an accompanist to read from more than two clefs if it’s a cued piano vocal or orchestra score.
difficulty for accompanist 4:
Songs that are rare in the musical theater canon or technically advanced for a pianist, involving complicated rhythms and awkward passagework, or songs that are in poorly written score format, often with no obvious part for the pianist to play. Not recommended for sight reading at an audition. Users should investigate whether a cleaner copy is available in an anthology or from an online music service.
difficulty for accompanist 5:
Songs that are the most challenging technically, rare or most difficult to read from the original source material. Never recommended for an audition. Users are advised to invest in a transcription if no alternative legible format is available.
Disco is a genre of dance music containing elements of funk, soul, pop and salsa. It achieved popularity during the mid-1970s to the early 1980s. The rhythmic structure is usually "four-on-the floor" beats with running 8th or 16th notes above it. Songs have a joyous/upbeat quality to their lyrics and use fuller orchestral colors in their instrumentation including string, winds and harps. Synthesized music was also incorporated. Examples include: "Tragedy" and "Immortality" from Saturday Night Fever (1977). Great for auditions for The Wiz, Mama Mia, Xanadu, Saturday Night Fever as well as Kinky Boots, Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Songs or shows produced by the Walt Disney Company, often a film remade as a stage musical. Examples include “Home” from Beauty and the Beast (1994), “Practically Perfect” from MaryPoppins (2004) and The Lion King (1997).
Songs with lyrics that are serious and often emotional.
Songs with anup-tempo, energized, motor-like underlying rhythm that propels the music and the lyrics. May have either an uplifting/optimistic/comical and/or an angry/dramatic quality to them. Examples include “Cabaret” from Cabaret (1966) “Don’t Rain on My Parade” from Funny Girl (1964).
A slow song with a simple emotional arc. Terms associated with this may be largo, lento, adagio, andante and slow.
Songs in which the actor portrays overt and/or quiet nervousness or tenseness. Usually associated with contemporary shows, often with a rock or pop-rock score. Examples include “One Song Glory” from Rent (1996) and “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal (2008).
Edwardian Musical Comedy was a form of British Musical Theater from the period between the early 1890s, when the Gilbert and Sullivan operas' dominance had ended, until the rise of the American musicals. These songs are ideal for legitimate voices and may also be sung with a British accent. Examples include "Ah Better Far To Swell" from The Canterbury Pilgrims (1916) and the show A Country Girl (1901).
Songs sung by a villain or antagonist. May be serious or comical. May also be campy. Examples include “Alive” from Jeckyl and Hyde (serious, 1997) and “Be aDentist” from Little Shop of Horrors (comical/campy, 1982).
Songs that are non-linear, poetic, ethereal often involving high vocal ranges.
female adult playing female child/teen role
Songs/Shows in which the character's age is a child or teenager under 17, but the vocal and/or dramatic demands of the role require a female actor who is older to play it. Examples include "Everything Else" from Next To Normal (2008) or Bring It On (2011) .
female child role
Songs in which the characters age is under 13 and is a female. Examples include "Another World" from A Little Princess (2011) or "Apology To A Cow" from AnneOf The Green Gables (1965)
female teen role
Songs in which the characters age is between 14 and 17. Usually burgeoning on young adulthood/womanhood. Examples include "Blue Wind" from Spring Awakening (2006) and "Click Went The Kodak" from The Medal And The Mermaid (1903)
Song taken from a movie and incorporated into a theater score. Examples include “Maybe This Time” from the movie version of Cabaret (1972) and “Hushabye Mountain” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (film version from 1968 incorporated into 2008 Broadway production).
Songs using elements of American or foreign folk musical styles, often reflective of an older, simpler style. Examples include “Frank Mills” from Hair (American folk song style, 1967) and “Ireland” from Legally Blonde (Irish folk song style, 2007).
Songs that meld elements of Folk Music with a contemporary rock sound. Often with a guitar like accompaniment. Style is a hybrid. Examples include: "The Longing And The Short Of It" from All About You (2013) and "Imagine That" from Crossing Brooklyn (2007).
Songs where parts or all of the song are sung in a language other than English. Examples include “I Speak Six Languages” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005 and “Piragua” from In the Heights (2008).
Songs which the musical and/or dramatic material is of exceptional quality. Often also a Rare Find and/or a Tour de Force. The material may be lyrically and/or musically challenging. These songs provide great alternatives to more standard audition/study fare, which while always worthwhile, can limit one's outlook on the entire breadth and depth of the musical theater repertoire. Examples include: "Arcady Is Everything" from The Arcadians (1909), "I Jupiter" from Out Of ThisWorld (1950), and "I Hate The French" from Bright Lights, Big City (1999).
Songs or shows in which a French accent would be appropriate and/or recommended. Examples include: “Those Canaan Days” from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (1968) and “I Love Paris” from Can-Can (1953).
Songs or shows in which a German accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “He Was My Boyfriend” from Young Frankenstein (2007) and “Wilkommen” from Cabaret (1966).
Songs or shows from the period usually defined as stretching from the mid1940s through the late 1960s, before the birth of the rock musical. Examples include Oklahoma (1943), My Fair Lady (1956) and Hello Dolly (1964).
Songs that are modeled after gospel musical styles, either black or white in ethnic origin. May have either a secular or spiritual context within the show. Examples include “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ the Boat” from Guys and Dolls (1950) and “Love Will Stand When All Else Falls” from Memphis (2009).
hard copy sheet music:
Musicnotes.com, Sheetmusicplus.com, Newmusicaltheater.com, and Amazon.com allow users to purchase an individual song or an entire score. Sheeto.com is a free online directory where each user can sign up and approach other users about obtaining specific sheet music often at no charge.
Songs or shows whose subject matter is related to holidays, such as Christmas, or July 4th, or deal with a specific season, such as Summer or Autumn. Examples include "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess (1935), or "I don't remember Christmas" from Starting Here, Starting Now, (1974).
Songs or shows in which an Irish accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “How Are Things in Glocca Morra” from Finian’s Rainbow (1947) and “Waitin’ for My Dearie” from Brigadoon (1947).
Songs or shows in which an Italian accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “Rosabella” from The Most Happy Fella (1956) and “Guido’s Song” from Nine (1982).
Songs that use musical components of jazz such as harmony (altered chords, use of dominant sevenths, etc.), melody (blue notes) or rhythm (walking bass lines, dotted eighth or 16th note figures, etc.). This practice spans many decades. May also include music described as “swingy.” Examples include “Lullaby of Broadway” from 42nd Street (1927), “All That Jazz” from Chicago (1975) and “Luck Be a Lady” from Guys and Dolls (1950).
Songs that are sung by a Jewish character or have Jewish references. Examples include “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and “Gliding” from Ragtime (1996).
Songs or shows in which a Jewish or Yiddish accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “If I Were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and “I’m the Greatest Star” from Funny Girl (1964).
Shows with little or no book that feature songs of one composer or previously released popular songs. The songs are sometimes contextualized into a dramaticplot, often the biographical story of the performer(s) whose music is featured Examples include Jersey Boys (2005, Frankie Valli), Ain’t Misbehavin’ (1978, Fats Waller) and Mama Mia! (1999, Abba).
Songs or shows in which a Latin (usually Spanish) accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “High Flying Adored” and “Another Suitcase, Another Hall” from Evita and “I Feel Pretty” from West Side Story (1957).
Songs that employ Latin rhythms as their primary pulse. These include beguine, bolero, bossa nova, cha-cha, merengue, samba and Tango. Examples include “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company (1970, bossa nova) and “Buenos Aires” from Evita (1978, samba).
Songs or shows created for Latin/Hispanic performers. Some such songs may be sung by non-Latin/Hispanic performers, some not. Examples include “Piragua” from In the Heights (2008, Latin) and “Nothing” from A Chorus Line (1975, wider ethnic range).
Songs that are ideal for classically trained singers because they require a more cultivated sound. Examples include “I Could Have Danced All Night” from My Fair Lady (1956) and “Stars” from Les Miserables (1985).
Songs that deal with the end of a love relationship either through death or a break-up. May also be angry, cynical or poignant. Examples include “There’s a Fine, Fine Line” from Avenue Q (2003) and “Bewitched” from Pal Joey (1940).
Songs that deal with a character either being in love or falling in love. May also be happy or optimistic. Examples include “Almost Like Being In Love” from Brigadoon (1947) and “People Will Say We’re in Love” from Oklahoma (1943). (Many love songs are dramatic in content so search both “comical” and “dramatic” for a wider choice).
Songs in which the melodic line contains longer phrases. May use notes of longer values. Examples include: “People” from Funny Girl (1964) and “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables (1985).
The person who writes the words for the songs of the show. Examples include Oscar Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim and Ira Gershwin
male adult playing child/teen role
Songs/Shows in which the character's age is a child or teenager under 17, but the vocal and/or dramatic demands of the role require a male actor who is older to play it. Examples include "Aftershocks" from Next To Normal (2008) or You're a Good Man Charlie Brown (1968) .
male child role
Songs in which the characters age is under 13 and is male. These song's ranges will be either Soprano or Mezzo/Alto in that the character has not yet reached puberty. Examples include "Another Boring Afternoon" from The Phantom Tollbooth (1995) or "Edwina" from Dear Edwina (1998). May also work for a slightly older male if his voice has yet to transition.
male teen role
Songs in which the character is between the ages of 14 and 17 and who's voice has already changed to Tenor or Baritone. Songs include "Captain Of The Beavers" from Band Geeks (2010) and "Floozies" from The Grass Harp (1971). These songs may be appropriate for a slightly older male provided they physically look like a teenager.
Songs with a strong regular rhythm that invokes a military or parade-like feeling. Common time signatures include 2/2, 4/4 or 6/8. Examples include “Seventy-Six Trombones” from The Music Man” 1957, 6/8-style march) and “Bring Me My Bride” from Forum (1962, 4/4-style march).
A song with a medium- or moderate-paced tempo. Terms associated with this may be moderato, moderately, and allegretto
The lower of the two common female voice types. Often employs a more chest- based resonance with a fuller, lower sound. Comfortable voice range can be betwen E3 and F5. Belt is a bright, prominent sound.
Songs that employ a variety of time signatures or meters in quick succession. Examples include: “Where I Want to Be” from Chess (1986) and “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal (2008).
new england accent:
Songs or shows in which a New England accent would be appropriate or recommended. Examples include “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “What’s the Use of Wond’rin’” from Carousel (1945).
Songs that require techniques aside from, or in addition to singing (e.g. whistling, making animal noises, humming, playing a musical instrument, singing very rapidly or slowly). Also, a song whose lyrics are so specific or unique that they themselves are truly novel. Examples include: “Little Bit of Good” from Chicago (1975, male singer singing in a falsetto range for the entire song) and “Sign Here” from Flora the Red Menace (1964, the singer must stutter).
Songs that are the first vocal number of the show after the overture. They may establish the world of the musical or give insight into a key character’s state of mind. Examples include “I Get a Kick Out of You” from Anything Goes, (1938, Reno Sweeney’s first song) and “All That Jazz” from Chicago (1975, opening song for Velma Kelly; puts us into the world of the musical).
Songs that maintain a positive, upbeat point of view. Examples include “Tomorrow” from Annie (1977), “Miracle of Miracles” from Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and “It Won’t Be Long Now” from In the Heights (2008). See also “happy” or “love songs.”
The key of the song in the originally published piano/vocal or piano/conductor score. This information is essential if a user is purchasing a song from a website because the wrong key can impede your success at an audition. The original key refers to the first key signature at the beginning of the selection.
page numbers in the score:
These refer to the page numbers in the original printed or hand-written piano/vocal or piano/conductor score. If there is a deviation from this, it will be indicated in the comments. Stand Alone Songs will often have page indications of 1-1.
Songs that poke fun at or satirize another musical style. Not to be confused with “pastiche,” which is a respectful use of another style or genre to invoke a specific musical mood or setting. Examples include “Sunday” from Tick Tick Boom” (2001, direct parody of “Sunday” from Sunday in the Park with George) and “Science Fiction” from The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975, parody of a love ballad).
Songs or shows that respectfully and knowingly invoke another musical style or genre. Songs include “Losing My Mind” from Follies (1971, song is a pastiche of a 1930s Gershwin-style number) and “I Can Hear the Bells” from Hairspray (2002, invoking an early 1960s rock and roll style) Shows include Cabaret (1966, invokes 1930s Berlin) and Chicago (1975, invokes 1920s Chicago-style jazz).
Songs that use lots of words in quick succession, usually to demonstrate the linguistic fluency and agility of the singer. Examples include “Modern Major General” from Pirates of Penzance (1879) and “The Speed Test” from Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002).
Songs that quietly evoke a sense of sadness. Songs include “Mr. Cellophane” from Chicago (1975) and “Bring Him Home” from Les Miserables (1986).
Songs that are affectedly and often irritatingly grand or self-important. Most often , but not always, sung by a man. Examples include “Me” from Beauty and the Beast (1995) and “C’est Moi” from Camelot (1960).
Songs or shows that combine elements of popular singing styles with classical singing technique. Shows include The Phantom of the Opera (1986) and Miss Saigon (1989). Songs include “Anthem” from Chess (1988) and “This Is the Moment” from Jeckyll and Hyde (1997).
Songs that use current Pop or Rock music as a musical color palate. Examples include “Know Your Enemy” from American Idiot (2010) and “Superboy and the Invisible Girl” from Next to Normal (2008). Ideal for shows such as American Idiot,Next to Normal, Rent etc.
A slow song with a wide emotional arc, most often used in pop or pop-rock musicals. Terms associated with this may be largo, lento, adagio, andante and slow.
Songs in which the character is somewhat peculiar or has unexpected traits. Examples include “My Friend the Dictionary” from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (2005) and “Shy” from Once Upon a Mattress (1959).
Songs where the vocal range is large or wide, often close to two octaves. Examples include “Pity the Child” from Chess (1988, more than two octaves) and “Buenos Aires” from Evita (1978, two octaves plus two notes).
Rap Songs involve rapping which is is a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates "rhyme, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular". which is performed or chanted in a variety of ways, usually over a backbeat or musical accompaniment. The components of rap include "content" (what is being said), "flow" (rhythm, rhyme), and "delivery" (cadence, tone). Examples include: "Mutt Rap" from Bark! The Musical (2004) "Hurricane" from Hamilton (2015).
Songs which have practically disappeared from the repertoire and are seldom if ever performed. Many of these are from shows that had limited runs or closed out of town. Often the material is also a Founders Pick. Songs include: "My Sweet" from Simple Simon (1931), "Almost" from I Had A Ball (1965) and "Nine By Nine By Nine" from The Gambler (1996).
Songs/Shows that use a a strong back beat in the rhythm. Also used as a blanket term for soul and funk in the 1970's. In the 1980s, a newer style of R&B which combine elements of rhythm and blues, soul, funk and hip-hop. Songs include "I'm not Going" and "I Am Changing" from Dreamgirls (1981). Ideal for shows such as Bring It On, Dreamgirls, Hamilton, etc.
Amazon.com, iTunes and Spotify allow the user to purchase or stream an individual song or a recording of the entire show.
Songs that are explicitly or overtly sexual or more subtly sensual. May be either comic or dramatic. Examples include “When You’re Good to Mama” from Chicago (1975) or “Let Me Entertain You” from Gypsy (1959).
Songs that are brief in length, usually 16 to 24 measures. Examples include “My Time of Day” from “Guys and Dolls” (1950), or “The Baby Song” from “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change” (1996).
Songs that takes place in some sort of theatrical setting within a show. Examples include “I Am What I Am” from La Cage Aux Folles (1984) and “Where Is the Life That Late I Led?” from Kiss Me Kate (1948).
The name of the show. Examples include “Wicked” or “Oklahoma.”
Songs usually desired to elicit prolonged applause from the audience. Often a tour de force in length or vocal or dramatic demands. Examples include “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy (1959) and “The Music and the Mirror” from A Chorus Line (1975).
Songs that are uncomplicated both musically and emotionally. Can be happy or unhappy, comic or dramatic. Examples include “Simple Little Things” from 110 in the Shade (1963) and “More I Can Not Wish You” from Guys and Dolls (1950).
Songs or shows in which a Slavic (usually Russian) accent is appropriate or recommended. Examples include “I Am Easily Assimilated” from Candide (1956) and “Natasha” from A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (1979).
small vocal range:
Songs in which the vocal range is around an octave or less. Examples include “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music (1973) or “Posh” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1963).
The name of the song. Examples Include “Defying Gravity” or “I’m Just a Girl Who Can’t Say No.”
songs when you're sick
Songs in which the vocal range is around an octave or less. Ideal when you wake up not in great voice and have to get to that 9AM audition. Examples include “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music (1973) or “Posh” from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1963).
Songs whose lyrics have an urbanity, worldliness and gentility to them. Very often from the 1920s through ‘40s, and also includes a lot of Stephen Sondheim, or by British authors. Examples include “Bewitched” from Pal Joey (1940) or “Now” from A Little Night Music (1973).
The Highest of the four singing voices. Usually for a woman. Comfortable range can be between A3 and at least C6. (See vocal range). May also be called mix or head voice as opposed to chest voice.
Songs that invoke a higher power. May or may not mention God or a specific religion. Examples include “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” from The Sound of Music (1959) and “Save the People” from Godspell (1971).
stand alone song
A stand alone song is a song that is not written for a specific musical. These may be individual songs or within a song cycle. Examples include individual songs by composer/lyricists such as Jason Robert Brown, Kerrigan & Lowdermilk, Brett Macias etc. or “Here In My Bed” from Songs from An Unmade Bed (2005 Song Cycle).
Songs that have become permanent fixtures in the musical theater canon. Often reconceived in other styles such as jazz, pop, etc., because the core of the song is so well known. May often be heard in auditions. Examples include “What I Did for Love” from A Chorus Line (1975) and “Oh What a Beautiful Morning” from Oklahoma (1943).
Songs that tell a personal story either about the character who is singing it or a third party. Think also, “Once upon a time…” Examples include “Nothing” from A Chorus Line (1975) and “Cabaret” from Cabaret (1966).
Songs that carry an additional forceful musical, lyrical or emotional weight. This can be manifested through rhythm, tempo, range etc. and be either positive/comical/uplifting or negative/angry/dramatic/sad. Examples include “Before the Parade Passes By” from Hello Dolly (1964) or “Epiphany” from Sweeney Todd (1979). See also “belty”, “rangy”, “driving”, “angry”.
Songs in which all of the verses or stanzas of the text are sung to the same music. The opposite of this is “through-composed.” Examples include “Nothing” from A Chorus Line (1975) and “Kansas City” from Oklahoma (1943). The user will very often see repeat signs in the music.
Songs using a dotted-eighth or -sixteenth note rhythmic pattern in succession. Often combined with “jazzy”. Tempo can be low or fast and song may be dramatic or comic. Examples include “You Can Always Count on Me” from City of Angels (1991) and “If I Were a Bell” from Guys and Dollsi (1950).
Descriptive words that allow users to refine their searches.
Songs for actors ages 13 to 18. Examples include “Giants in the Sky” from “Into the Woods” (1988) and “The Boy Next Door” from Meet Me in St. Louis (1944).
The primary speed of a piece of music. (For this website, denotes the overall tempo, regardless of fluctuations.)
The higher of the two predominant male singing voices. Comfortable range can be between B2 and B4.
A simple time signature consists of two numbers, one stacked above the other. The lower number indicates the note value that represents one beat (the beat unit); the upper numeral indicates how many such beats are in a bar. For example, 3/8 means three eighth note beats per bar; 4/4 denotes four quarter note beats per bar. The time signature is always the first time signature of the selection.
Songs that are sad or sentimental and typically about unrequited love, usually in a slower tempo. Examples include “Losing My Mind” from Follies (1971) and “Bewitched” from Pal Joey (1940).
A song with a fast, lively or bright tempo. Terms associated with this may include allegro, Broadway 2, presto, prestissimo, quickly, fast, very fast and lively.
A song which features introductory melodic material that is not heard again in the song. Examples include "The Party's Over" from Bells are Ringing (1956), and "Not For The Life Of Me" from Thoroughly Modern Millie (2008).
The lowest and highest vocal notes in the piece. This is often called the tessitura in Italian. For our system, C4=Middle C. The notes in the same octave as Middle C are C#4-B4. The next octave begins with C5 and continues up to the highest note on the piano, C8. The octave below middle C range is C3-B3 etc. and continues downward to the lowest note on the piano, A0.
Songs in triple time (usually 3/4 or sometimes 9/8 with a strong first beat and weaker second and third beats). Examples include “Matchmaker” from Fiddler on the Roof (1964) and “My Favorite Things” from The Sound of Music (1959).
A song in which a character sings about achieving for or striving towards a certain goal. Can be either up-tempo or balladic, comical or dramatic. Examples include: "Music And The Mirror" from A Chorus Line (1975, song about wanting a job), or "When You're Good To Mama" from Chicago (1975, song about wanting money, power and sex).
Songs that contain many words in succession. May or may not be a patter song depending on whether the song stays in the same meter. Examples include “Everybody Says Don’t” from Anyone Can Whistle (1964, not a patter song) and “Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance (1879, patter song).
Song featuring a rhythm, beat, melody, or style that falls outside traditional American/Western European tradition. It is often used to invoke the exotic. Examples include: "Mama Will Provide" from Once On This Island (1990, invokes Afro-Carribean style) or "Slay Tlay Kasiti" from Book of Mormon (2011, invokes a tribal-African style).
The year the show first opened. If the show ran Off-Broadway before transferring to Broadway, then the comments will specify what score is being referenced.