‘Don’t Ya Think That’s Pretty Music?’ – Jason Robert Brown’s melodic construction from Songs for a New World to The Last Five Years | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 8, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 1750-3159
  • E-ISSN: 1750-3167



Jason Robert Brown is an American musical theatre composer who sings as he composes and ‘write[s] everything at the same time’. This article focuses on Brown’s small-scale melodic construction techniques through discussion of the horizontal pitch content from his musicals Songs for a New World (1995), Parade (1998) and The Last Five Years (2002). The article concludes that, once Brown has established a ‘structure that [he] can just start playing with’, he regularly uses highly structured melodic cells when creating his melodic lines; repeatedly employs dissonance when his characters are experiencing fear, nervousness or regret, and uses consonance and unison as dramatic symbols in his love duets.


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