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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

In music, a reprise (from French) is the repetition or reiteration of the opening material later in a composition as occurs in the recapitulation of sonata form, though—originally in the 18th century—was simply any repeated section, such as is indicated by beginning and ending repeat signs.

Freddie Mercury of the band Queen was known to use the reprise often, as he loved to engage the crowd.

Music theater

In musical theatre, reprises are any repetition of an earlier song or theme, usually with changed lyrics to reflect the development of the story. Also, it is common for songs sung by the same character or regarding the same narrative motif to have similar tunes and lyrics, or incorporate similar tunes and lyrics. For example, in the stage version of Les Misérables, a song of the primary antagonist ("Javert's Suicide") is similar in lyrics and exactly the same in tune to a soliloquy of the protagonist when he was in a similar emotional state ("What Have I Done?"). At the end of the song, an instrumental portion is played from an earlier soliloquy of the antagonist, in which he was significantly more confident. Les Misérables in general reprises many musical themes.

Often the reprised version of a song has exactly the same tune and lyrics as the original, though frequently featuring different characters singing or including them with the original character in the reprised version. For example, in The Sound of Music, the reprise of the title song is sung by the Von Trapp children and their father, the Captain; whereas the original was sung by Maria. In "Edelweiss" (reprise), the entire Von Trapp family and Maria sing and are later joined by the audience, whereas the original features Liesl and the Captain.

Also, in the musical The Music Man, the love song "Goodnight My Someone" uses the same basic melody (though with a more ballad quality to it) as the rousing march and theme song "Seventy-Six Trombones"; in the reprised versions, Harold and Marian are heard singing a snatch of each other's songs. And in Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II's Show Boat, the song "Ol' Man River" is reprised three times after it is first sung, as if it were a commentary on the situation in the story. In some musicals, a reprise of an earlier song is sung by a different character from the one who originally sang it, with different lyrics.

Song reprises

Reprise can also refer to a version of a song which is similar to, yet different from, the song on which it is based.

See also

  • Cover version, a new version of a song originated by a different artist.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Reprise" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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