Dialogue

MUSIC

Neil Simon writes his dialogue to music, to tunes in his head, and many swear they hear the melody when his plays are performed. When an actor delivers one of his words out of order, or drops a word, these Neil Simon fans notice because it breaks the rhythm. Numerous musical terms can be applied to dialogue . .


  • meter
  • pitch
  • beats
  • stacatto
  • syncopation
  • tempo
  • timber
  • tone

Musical orchestration plays like the orchestra of voices in a movie. What if each character had the voice of a different instrument? Or each character could represent the spirit and sounds of a different musical genre?

Improvisational musicians carry on a perfect conversation when they perform. As a screenwriter struggling with how to write great dialogue you can learn from what they do.


"I agree with what's said (here) about dialogue and music. I've always found a direct correlation between screenwriting and composing music. Poetry too, with its economy of perfectly-chosen words. When I'm writing, I'm very aware of the rhythm of the words and will often revise sentences to conform to this 'rhythm'. Not only dialogue, but the entire script."
Doug Klozzner
musician/screenwriter


| Story Dynamics | Magic Star: Dialogue | index | Recitation |