The critically acclaimed musical “Hamilton” contains incredibly complex rhyming lyrics that draw inspiration from traditional musical theatre as well as modern hip-hop and rap. The Wall Street Journal created an algorithm to visualize the lyrics and analyze how common rhyming and rapping techniques intertwine to create one of the most popular musicals of 2016.


The algorithm used in the data visualization breaks words into their component sounds and groups the similar-sounding syllables into color-coded rhyme families. Perfect end rhymes are red and blue, imperfect rhymes are teal and orange and so on. The beginning of the visualization opens with a recording of a verse from the song “Alexander Hamilton” At first, it can be difficult to understand the rhyming techniques used; however, the visualization breaks down the verse, step-by-step. After learning about different rhyming techniques and understanding the color-coding, it is easy to identify and appreciate the nuances in the lyrics. The data visualization also samples some of today’s popular artists, and demonstrates how the same techniques are present in their lyrics.

This engaging data visualization is more proof that simple visual metaphors can deepen our understanding of complex ideas. In fact, visualizing sound is a profound way to connect the senses, allowing us to appreciate one art form through the lens of another

This entry was posted on Tuesday, September 13th, 2016 at 12:13 pm and is filed under DATA VISUALIZATION. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.