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Musical Investigation. Due Next Week. Romantic Era. A Comparison of Classical and Romantic Styles. The Art Song The Lied (Lieder = plural) is a German-texted solo vocal song with piano accompaniment. Influenced by Romantic lyric poetry Song Cycle

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The Art Song

The Lied (Lieder = plural) is a German-texted solo vocal song with piano accompaniment.

Influenced by Romantic lyric poetry

Song Cycle

Groups of Lieder that were unified by a narrative thread or theme.


Strophic form

The same melody is repeated with every stanza

Through-composed form

Proceeds from beginning to end without repetitions of whole sections – the music follows the story line.

Modified strophic form

The same melody may be repeated for two or three stanzas, with new material introduce when the poem requires it

schubert s the trout

Schubert’s The Trout


Fisherman tries to catch a trout from a stream

me me ha me fo sty co

Me Me Ha Me Fo Sty Co

Schubert’s Trout Quintet

4th Movement


Franz Schubert

Erlking: Through-composed Lied

Robert Schumann

“In the lovely month of May” from A Poet’s Love (Dichterliebe), No. 1: a Lied from a song cycle


The Piano –

and the modern piano style

Frederic Chopin

His entire creative life revolved around the piano.

His style was his own

Tempo rubato – borrowed time

Polonaise in A major, Op. 40, No. 1 (Military)

Prelude in E minor, Op. 28, No. 4


Franz Liszt

Symphonic poem – a one movement orchestral work with a literary or pictorial program.

Thematic transformation - Based his music on the technique of thematic transformation by varying the melodic outline, harmony or rhythm of a theme.

The Little Bell (La campanella)


Clara Wieck Schumann

a German musician, one of the leading pianists of the Romantic era, as well as a composer, and wife of composer Robert Schumann.

Nocturne, from Music for an Evening Entertainment (Soirees musicales), Op. 6


Romantic Program Music

  • Program Music – instrumental music with a literary or pictorial association supplied by the composer
  • 4 Types
  • concert overture
  • incidental music (to a play)
  • program symphony (a multi-movement work)
  • symphonic poem/tone poem (a one-movement work)
  • Absolute Music – musical patterns that have no literary or pictorial meanings

Berlioz and the Program Symphony


Program symphony – 5 movements

A lovesick musician in an opium trance is haunted by a vision of his beloved, which becomes an idée fixe.

The symphony’s recurrent theme, called an idée fixe (fixed idea), symbolizes the beloved.



Reveries, Passions – The musician remembers the yearning he knew before meeting his beloved. Then the volcanic love with which she inspired him.

A Ball – At a ball he glimpses the loved one again.

Scene in the Fields – In the country he hears two shepherds piping. She appears again.

March to the Scaffold – He dreams he has killed his beloved, that he has been condemned to die and is being led to the scaffold

Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath – He is surrounded by spirits who have gathered for his funeral. She comes to the funeral.



4th movement – March to the Scaffold


Duple meter


Two themes

0:00 – opening motive (rhythm of theme B)

0:24 – theme A, downward minor scale

1:31 – theme B – march tune

1:56 – development

theme B in brass

theme A soft with pizz strings

theme B brass

theme A pizz strings, then brass

3:02 – Theme A full orch, then inverted

4:05 – Idée fixe in clarinet (a last thought of love) followed by a loud chord (the fall of the blade)



5th movement – Dream of a Witches’ Sabbath

0:00 – Larghetto, chromatic scales in strings

1:27 – Allegro, fixed idea in clarinet w/ trills and grace notes

1:35 – Orchestra fortissimo = howls of joy at beloved’s arrival

1:46 – fixed idea continues in woodwinds

2:53 – Bells toll for the dead

3:19 – Chant tune Dies irae in bassoons and tubas, then twice as fast in brass

3:49 – Altered Dies irae in strings

5:08 – “Dance of the Witches” (Rounde du Sabbat”) beings in low strings, fugal setting

7:56 – “The dance and the Dies irae combined”


Musical Nationalism

  • Political conditions encouraged nationalism
  • The pride of the conquering nations
  • The struggle of the conquered nations.
  • In music, nationalism took many forms:
  • Use of folklore
  • Works written to celebrate heroes
  • Works written to celebrate events
  • Works written about places

A Czech Nationalist: Bedrich Smetana

(Czech Republic was called Bohemia)

The Moldau

Symphonic poem, from cycle My Country


Program: Scenes along the river Moldau in Bohemia


Other Nationalists

Czech – Dvorak, Smetana

England – Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Scandinavia – Grieg, Sibelius

Russia – Borodin, Musorgsky, Korsakov, Tchaikovsky

Spain – Albeniz, de Falla