Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Music


School of Music

First Advisor

Dr. Samantha Inman

Second Advisor

Dr. Stephen Lias

Third Advisor

Dr. Inga Meier

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Benjamin Morris


Leitmotif, a recurring musical theme that represents a character, idea, or situation, is a device used in operas, film scores, and musical theater. Accredited to Richard Wagner, leitmotifs enhance storytelling and provide a sense of cohesion to a production. The popular musicals Les Misérables and Hamilton bear many similarities, including the use of leitmotif as a storytelling device. This thesis explores how the two musicals use leitmotif differently, through the lens of the protagonists, antagonists, and supporting characters. Though the leitmotifs in Les Misérables generally represent ideas and the leitmotifs in Hamilton are mostly character-based, this tool aids the overall narrative in both shows.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Included in

Music Theory Commons



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