2014 | Fiction & Poetry
Scholars, critics, and performers alike have long been fascinated by the distinctive blend of music and text in the German Lied. Covering works by Fanny Hensel, Franz Schubert, Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and Hugo Wolf, Songs in Motion synthesizes the most recent developments in song analysis and rhythmic theory. It offers a valuable new method for understanding the extraordinary coalescense of music and text in this most-studied and frequently performed genre of vocal repertory. Aesthetics of simplicity, songfulness, and folk-like directness fostered poetic styles with consistent meters and rhyme schemes in the later eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Author Yonatan Malin explroes the range of rhythmic and expressive possibilities available to composers as they worked within and beyond the original aesthetic dictates of the genre. Malin shows how expressive aspects of the poetic rhythm are intensified and transformed in musical settings, and he interprets rhythmic stratification of the poem, vocal melody, and piano accompaniment as features of the lyric persona's conscious awareness and voice.
Changes in musical rhythm over the course of a song are shown to be a significant element in the composer's "reading" of the poem. Malin's innovative and thorough analyses shed light on stylistic features of individual composers while illuminating more generally the changing nature of lyric subjectivity over the course of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Songs in Motion is a must-read for music theorists, historical musicologists, performers, and students and scholars of German studies.
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