Dissertation Index

Author: Liebermann, Alexander

Title: ERWIN SCHULHOFF (1894–1942): A Comparative Study of the Sonata for Violin and Piano, op. 7 (WV 24) and the
Sonata for Violin and Piano (WV 91)

Institution: Manhattan School of Music

Begun: September 2016

Completed: May 2022


As a result of Erwin Schulhoff’s untimely death in 1942, his music was largely forgotten after the Second World War. In recent years, many musicologists, musicians, and musical societies have worked hard to bring Schulhoff’s music back into the consciousness of musicians and into concert halls. Although much progress has been made in recent decades, today—in the year that marks the eightieth anniversary of his death—the name Erwin Schulhoff remains a mystery to many musicians and classical music aficionados.

The coexistence of different musical styles at the time, which included Post-Romanticism, Impressionism, Expressionism, Dadaism, Neoclassicism, and jazz, just to name the best-known, was a phenomenon hitherto unknown in the history of music. This mosaic of styles influenced Schulhoff greatly and allowed him to find different means of expression. Thus, while Schulhoff’s first creative period, from 1894 to 1919, was linked to Post-Romanticism, his second creative period, from 1919 to 1923, was characterized by the simultaneous influence of Expressionism, Dadaism, and jazz. His third creative period, which lasted from 1923 until the early 1930s, was marked by a renewed interest in the folk elements of his native Czechoslovakia, and a style characterized by a synthesis of many different genres.

In order to better understand the difference between Schulhoff’s first and third periods, and in order to better understand his compositional process, his musical language, and his artistic development, it is necessary to compare works from each period, preferably with the same instrumentation. The violin sonatas of 1913 and 1927 are ideal for such a study. By analyzing these two sonatas, this thesis aims to show the differences between Schulhoff’s first and third periods and, in doing so, provide insight into Schulhoff’s compositional process and artistic development.

Keywords: Erwin Schulhoff, Violin Sonata, Twentieth century music, Dadaism, Czech music, Neoclassicism, Schulhoff


1. CHAPTER 1: Prague at the Turn of the Century
2. CHAPTER 2: Schulhoff’s Life from 1894–1913
3. CHAPTER 3: Sonata for Violin and Piano, op. 7 (WV 24)
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Notes on the Analysis
3.3 Movement I
3.4 Movement II
3.5 Movement III
3.6 Movement IV
3.7 Summary
4. CHAPTER 4: Schulhoff’s Life from 1913–1927
5. CHAPTER 5: Sonata for Violin and Piano (WV 91)
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Notes on the Analysis
5.3 Movement I
5.4 Movement II
5.5 Movement III
5.6 Movement IV
5.7. Summary
6. CHAPTER 6: Comparative Study
6.1 Introduction
6.2 Form
6.3 Motivic Elements
6.4 Harmony
7. Conclusion
8. Appendix: List of Schulhoff’s Compositions from 1894–1927
9. Bibliography


Alexander Liebermann

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