ETYM French mélodrame, from Greek melos song + drama drama.
An extravagant comedy in which action is more salient than characterization.
Play or film with romantic and sensational plot elements, often concerned with crime, vice, or catastrophe. Originally a melodrama was a play with an accompaniment of music contributing to the dramatic effect. It became popular in the late 18th century, due to works like Pygmalion 1770, with pieces written by the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The early melodramas used extravagant theatrical effects to heighten violent emotions and actions artificially. By the end of the 19th century, melodrama had become a popular genre of stage play.
In melodramas of the 18th century there was no direct correlation between the free rhythm of the actor’s voice and the music which was played in strict meter. In addition to self-contained melodramas, some operas of the period included scenes of this style, as in the grave-digging scene in Beethoven’s Fidelio 1805. Schoenberg developed the genre in his Pierrot lunaire 1912, by the inclusion of semimusical speech called Sprechgesang (German “speech-song”).
Pozorišni komad u kome govor dramskog lica prati muzika, ili svuda ili samo na značajnim mestima; vrste: monodrama, ako u komadu govori samo jedna ličnost, i duodrama, ako u komadu učestvuju dva lica. (grč.)