Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard of Hamilton, the hit Broadway musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda about our nation’s founding father, Alexander Hamilton, that mixes four decades of hip-hop and three centuries of American history with musical theatre. Multiple rhyming styles are used throughout the musical to create the complex lyrics the show has become known for. But how does Hamilton actually blur the lines between hip-hop and musical theatre? Joel Eastwood and Erik Hinton created an interactive algorithm to help break down the components of the lyrics to determine how these complex rhymes work.
In order to better understand the rhymes, Eastwood and Hinton began their algorithm by breaking down each word into syllables then determined the phonetic language of each syllable. The phonetics allowed them to determine which syllables rhymed by comparing the vowel sounds of each syllable which they could then use to compare syllable stress and score. In the end, the syllables are placed into rhyming families which the algorithm uses to create graphs, with each syllable represented by a colored square based on their rhyming family.
The process of making the algorithm seems complex itself, but the results are fantastic. The verses from the musical are broken down into separate rhyming style categories, such as rhyme weaving and assonance and consonance, and are placed side by side with hip-hop verses to compare the lyrical styles. The algorithm makes it easy to determine the similarities between the two and is a fun interactive to mess around with. You can even input your own lyrical rhymes to get broken down and analyzed.
Check out the rhymes here.
[Via: The Wall Street Journal]