Dissertation Index

Author: Gonzales, Cynthia I.

Title: Text-Music Relationships in the Early Songs of Arnold Schoenberg

Institution: Harvard University

Begun: September 1993

Completed: October 2005


I engage the music analytical methodology of Heinrich Schenker (1865-1935) to provide detailed readings of the initial three songs from Arnold Schoenberg's opus 6 scored for voice and piano: "Traumleben," "Alles," and "Mädchenlied." Schenkerian analysis reveals the tonal syntax in these songs, and the analyses inform my exploration of the relationships between musical structures and poetic ideas.

Chapter One highlights the relevant research about Schoenberg's early songs and explains my application of Schenkerian analysis, as well as my approach to proposing text-music relationships. Chapter Two contains generalizations about the complex foreground organization in Schoenberg’s opera 2, 3, and 6. I summarize the linear and vertical surface-level features that obfuscate the inherent tonal structures in this repertoire.

Chromaticism permeates all structural levels. Even though "Alles" maintains the traditional tonic-dominant axis, the fundamental line invokes modal mixture in its descent. The presence of scale degree flat-3 in a major-mode song depicts a harsh reality that contrasts with the idealistic protagonist who desires to see all the starts. The fundamental line of "Mädchenlied" engages chromaticism as scale degree flat-2 and the Neapolitan displace diatonic scale degree 2 and the supertonic. The musical substitution depicts a substitution described in the narrative text. "Traumleben" explores the plagal domain. A conflict between dominant and sub-dominant region harmonies depicts the protagonist's struggle. As the protagonist grows less able to resolve the contest between his manifest thoughts expressed by his words and his latent feelings expressed by his actions, the tonic-dominant axis yields to the plagal realm.

Chapter Five considers two implications of the detailed analyses in Chapters Three and Four. One explores a Schenkerian approach to "Lockung," op. 6, no. 7: the foreground analysis does not yield a viable middleground or background. The other views how Schoenberg's use of non-chord members looks forward to the "emancipation of the dissonance."

Keywords: Traumleben, Alles, Mädchenlied, Lockung, opus 6, Schenkerian analysis, text-music relationships


Chapter One: Prelude
Chapter Two: Foreground Organization
Chapter Three: "Alles"
Chapter Four: "Mädchenlied" and "Traumleben"
Chapter Five: Postlude


Cynthia I. Gonzales
PO Box 1480
San Marcos, TX 78667
(512) 245 2018

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