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Originally, a stage-play (typically romantic and sensational in plot and incident) with songs interspersed and action accompanied by appropriate orchestral music. As the musical element ceased to be regarded as essential, the word came to mean a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions.

Recorded from the early 19th century, the word comes via French from Greek melos ‘music’ 7plus; French drame ‘drama’.

Subjects: Performing artsTheatre

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