This Algorithm Analyzes Hamilton Lyrics (More Than You Already Have)

Caitlin Schneider
Hamilton Broadway
Hamilton Broadway / Hamilton Broadway

We know you’ve already pored over each Hamilton line about 1000 times (special shoutout to those who can recite “Guns and Ships”), but have you ever stopped to consider just what makes those lyrics work so gloriously well?

The Wall Street Journal can help with that. They made an interactive tool (“Volume up, headphones on”) that highlights the rhymes and other poetic constructions in selected lyrics from the blockbuster musical. Starting with the first verse, the algorithm “breaks words into their component sounds and then groups similar-sounding syllables into rhyme families” and then color-codes them so you can see what each sound is doing. It’s a fun and useful way to deconstruct the often complicated verses the show is known for. There’s also fascinating tidbits about how The Fugees, Kendrick Lamar, and musical theater all influenced the show.

When you’re done dissecting Hamilton, pop in other lyrics or poetry for the algorithm treatment—it’s an easy way to see your favorite verses in a whole new light.