As Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda recently reminded everyone on Twitter, he’s playing chess, not checkers, when it comes to weaving complexities into the lyrics of his blockbuster musical. And now The Wall Street Journal is trying to codify those complexities into one easy-to-use algorithm. The newly launched platform attempts to analyze Hamilton’s impressively dense lyrics from just about every conceivable angle.
Joel Eastwood and Erik Hinton designed the site, which breaks down lyrics into their component sounds and then color-codes similar sounding rhymes into “rhyme families.” That color-coding allows you to visualize what’s happening as the line unfolds, including its perfect end rhymes (squalor/scholar), its internal rhymes (squalor/scholar with “impoverished”), and its imperfect rhymes (Scotmans/dropped in). The platform also compares Hamilton’s score to the genres and artists that influenced Miranda, which include everything from Lauryn Hill, Big Pun, and Rakim to The Pirates Of Penzance.
Using its color-coded breakdown, the platform analyzes the specific inspiration Miranda drew from each artist, like his Nas-esque interwoven rhymes or the bouncy Kendrick Lamar feel to Daveed Diggs’ self-proclaimed favorite line to perform:
The actual application of the algorithm comes in the final “make your own” section, which lets you analyze lyrics from any artist by pasting them into the site.