Melodrama is a portmanteau word, formed by combining the words "melody" from the Greek "melōidía", meaning "song") and "drama". Originally it referred to the use of music in a play.
A melodrama is often a play with very simple characters: a villain, hero, heroine, policeman, damsel in distress and an elderly person (which usually ends happily). Melodramas were popular in the Victorian era on the stage and in novels. In the 20th century the term came to mean bad, crude art, lacking thought. It is rarely applied to the inclusion of music.