Ready for some serious geekiness? Here be diagrams. At least, a diagram.

The songs in Hamilton are more interwoven than in any other musical I know well, which is admittedly a short list. Miranda adores Les Miserables and cites it as an influence in this regard: “It’s like a masterclass in how to use themes in order to take a short circuit to someone’s tear duct or heart or gut.” The songs in Hamilton quote each other constantly, the same musical phrases or lyrics appearing in multiple songs. A song may be connected this way to two, four, five, or in one case, a whopping 11 others. (Guess which one.) King George’s three songs have exactly the same tune, give or take a bridge or a verse. There are other songs that take almost their entire melodies from an earlier one, such as “Best of Wives and Best of Women” repeating “It’s Quiet Uptown,” and there are many smaller echoes. “Farmer Refuted” is the only song that doesn’t share a significant passage with any other–at least, I haven’t been able to detect one.

I like putting things into visual form when I’m trying to sort out a lot of information, so I made this diagram of all of the cross-references. It’s not very tidy, but that’s MSWord. It also doesn’t say what each reference is, because I couldn’t figure out how to fit them. It’s more fun this way anyway.

It doesn’t include all the instances of the musical signatures of the four character names that have them, nor the choral “timestamps” (“1776. New York City,” etc.), but does include the seven variations of Burr’s intro, “How does . . . ” (“a bastard,” “a ragtag volunteer army,” “Hamilton, the short-tempered”), all connected to the first instance (from “Alexander Hamilton”) via dotted lines.

Have fun, and if you note a reference I didn’t include, please post it in the comments!

 

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