/kawr"euhs, kohr"-/, n., pl. choruses, v., chorused, chorusing.n.1. Music.a. a group of persons singing in unison.b. (in an opera, oratorio, etc.) such a group singing choral parts in connection with soloists or individual singers.c. a piece of music for singing in unison.d. a part of a song that recurs at intervals, usually following each verse; refrain.2. simultaneous utterance in singing, speaking, shouting, etc.3. the sounds so uttered: a chorus of jeers.4. (in a musical show)a. a company of dancers and singers.b. the singing, dancing, or songs performed by such a company.5. (in ancient Greece)a. a lyric poem, believed to have been in dithyrambic form, that was sung and danced to, originally as a religious rite, by a company of persons.b. an ode or series of odes sung by a group of actors in ancient Greek drama.c. the group of actors that performed the chorus and served as major participants in, commentators on, or as a supplement to the main action of the drama.6. Theat.a. a group of actors or a single actor having a function similar to that of the Greek chorus, as in Elizabethan drama.b. the part of a play performed by such a group or individual.7. in chorus, in unison; with all speaking or singing simultaneously: They responded in chorus to the minister's questions.v.t., v.i.8. to sing or speak in chorus.[1555-65; < L < Gk chorós a dance, band of dancers and singers]
* * *In theatre, a group of actors, singers, or dancers who perform as an ensemble to describe and comment on a play's action.Choral performances, which originated in the singing of dithyrambs in honour of Dionysus, dominated Greek drama until the mid-5th century BC, when Aeschylus added a second actor and reduced the chorus from 50 to 12 performers. As the importance of individual actors increased, the chorus gradually disappeared. It was revived in modern plays such as Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) and T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral (1935). Choruses of singers and dancers came to be featured in musical comedies, especially in the 20th century, first as entertainment and later to help develop the plot.
* * *▪ theatrein drama and music, those who perform vocally in a group as opposed to those who perform singly. The chorus in Classical Greek drama was a group of actors who described and commented upon the main action of a play with song, dance, and recitation. Greek tragedy had its beginnings in choral performances, in which a group of 50 men danced and sang dithyrambs (dithyramb)—lyric hymns in praise of the god Dionysus. In the middle of the 6th century BC, the poet Thespis reputedly became the first true actor when he engaged in dialogue with the chorus leader. Choral performances continued to dominate the early plays until the time of Aeschylus (5th century BC), who added a second actor and reduced the chorus from 50 to 12 performers. Sophocles, who added a third actor, increased the chorus to 15 but reduced it to a mainly commentarial role in most of his plays. The chorus in Greek comedy numbered 24, and its function was displaced eventually by interspersed songs. The distinction between the passivity of the chorus and the activity of the actors is central to the artistry of the Greek tragedies. While the tragic protagonists act out their defiance of the limits subscribed by the gods for man, the chorus expresses the fears, hopes, and judgment of the polity, the average citizens. Their judgment is the verdict of history.As the importance of the actors increased, the choral odes became fewer in number and tended to have less importance in the plot, until at last they became mere decorative interludes separating the acts. During the Renaissance the role of the chorus was revised. In the drama of Elizabethan England, for instance, the name chorus designated a single person, often the speaker of the prologue and epilogue, as in Christopher Marlowe's Doctor Faustus.The use of the group chorus has been revived in a number of modern plays, such as Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra (1931) and T.S. Eliot's Murder in the Cathedral (1935).In music, chorus refers to the organized body of singers in opera, oratorio, cantata, and church music; to compositions sung by such bodies; to the refrain of a song, sung by a group of singers, between verses for solo voice; and, as a medieval Latin term, to the crwth (the bowed lyre of medieval Wales) and to the bagpipe. (See choir.)In musicals (musical), the chorus, a group of players whose song and dance routines usually reflect and enhance the development of the plot, became increasingly more prominent during the 20th century. During the late Victorian era, musical comedy was characterized by thin plot, characters, and setting, the main attraction being the song and dance routines, comedy, and a line of scantily clad chorus girls. Their performances provided an extravagant bonus at the beginnings and ends of songs or special dance numbers, and they were considered the flashy sex symbols of the day. As musicals developed, however, more attention was given to integrating their various elements. In the mid-1920s, song and dance numbers began to stem more naturally from the plot, and the chorus danced more than it sang. The dancing itself soon developed from the lines of synchronized leg kicking of the early 1900s into highly sophisticated ballet and modern dance.
* * *