Melodrama Made Good

Ennoblement by Deletion in Edgar Stillman Kelley’s Score to Ben-Hur


  • Luke Hannington California State University, Long Beach



Edgar Stillman Kelly, <i>Ben-Hur</i>


As one of the last great stage melodramas, Edgar Stillman Kelley’s Score to Ben-Hur represents one of the last flourishes of melodramatic music before the onset of the movie age. This article provides an overview of the music in the autograph score of Ben-Hur and explores the various dramatic functions of the music as presented by Kelley.


Hickman, Roger. 2013. The Ben-Hur legacy. The Journal of Film Music 5, nos. 1-2.

Kelley, Edgar Stillman. 1899. Ben-Hur. Autograph scores and sketches, Western College Memorial Archives.

———. 1899. Unpublished Letter. Western College Memorial Archives.

———. 1900. Song of Iras: from “Ben-Hur.” New York: Sol Bloom.

———. 1902. Words and Music of Klaw & Erlanger’s Production of Gen. Lew Wallace’s Ben-Hur. New York: Tower & Curran.

———. 1930. Ben Hur: Sacred Choruses from the Music to the Drama: Op. 33. Chicago: Miessner Music.

———. 2011. Ben-Hur. Edited by Luke Hannington. Unpublished.

King, Maurice. 1970. Edgar Stillman Kelley: American Composer, Teacher, and Author. Ph.D. thesis, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Preston, Katherine K. and Nicholas E. Tawa. 2012 Kelley, Edgar Stillman. In Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed 1 July 2012). Young, William. 1900. Ben-Hur, Buffalo, NY: Courier Co.



How to Cite

Hannington, L. (2013). Melodrama Made Good: Ennoblement by Deletion in Edgar Stillman Kelley’s Score to Ben-Hur. Journal of Film Music, 5(1-2), 49–56.