Show Business: Sondheim on Songwriting

ON OSCAR HAMMERSTEIN II. Oscar taught me that a song should be like a little one-act play, with an exposition, a development and a conclusion; at the end of the song the character should have moved to a different position from where he was emotionally at the beginning. This was how Hammerstein and Dick Rodgers revolutionized the American theater. I mean, God knows every opera composer dating back to Monteverdi knew about development, but it was never used in the musical theater.

ON COLE PORTER. He wrote a valid but entirely different kind of song, in which you take a particular idea...

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