From parody masses and tropes in the fifteenth century to comic operas and novelty songs in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, a strong performative and theoretical connection has always existed between comedy and music. Composers’ motivations for combining the two arts range from pure entertainment to subversive yet sublimely palatable social commentary. The technical affinity is clear, with similarities encompassing timing, structure, and performance technique, yet most academic studies of the music/comedy relationship have come from disciplines with established histories of comedic research, namely literature, psychology, and linguistics. Within these disciplines, theoretical musical elements, i.e., form, phrasing, texture, structure, and melodic contour, have traditionally accrued less...

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