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Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems
This unit looks at the short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert ...
This unit looks at the short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (1797–1828) for a single voice with piano, a genre known as ‘Lieder’ (the German for ‘songs’). Once they became widely known, Schubert's Lieder influenced generations of songwriters up to the present day.This unit then discusses a selection of Schubert's settings of Goethe's poems, and recordings of all of them are provided. You can find the poems, in German with parallel translations into English and the music scores of four of the song settings, on the unit home page. You are not expected to be able to read the music, but even if you are not very familiar with musical notation, you may well find the scores useful in identifying what is happening in the songs.
By the end of your work on this unit you should:
- have learned about Schubert's place as a composer in early nineteenth-century Vienna;
- have learned about the place of Schubert in the history of German song and the development of Romanticism;
- be able to follow the words of songs by Schubert while listening to a recording, using parallel German and English texts;
- be able to comment on the relationship between words and music in Schubert's song settings.
- Current section: Introduction
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Schubert: introduction
- 2 Schubert and Vienna
- 3 Schubert and the Lied
- 4 The songs
- 4.1 A note on the translations and scores
- 4.2 Simplicity and complexity
- 4.3 Voice and accompaniment
- 4.4 ‘Erlkönig’ (‘The Erl-king’, 1815)
- 4.5 Two mythological songs: ‘Prometheus’ (1819) and ‘Ganymed’ (1817)
- 5 Conclusion
- Next steps
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Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems
This unit looks at a selection of short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (1797–1828) for a single voice with piano, a genre known as ‘Lieder’ (the German for ‘songs’). Once they became widely known, Schubert's Lieder influenced generations of songwriters up to the present day. This unit discusses a choice of Schubert's settings of Goethe's poems, and using recordings, the poems (in German with parallel translations into English) and the some music scores. You are not expected to be able to read the music, but even if you are not very familiar with musical notation, you may well find the scores useful in identifying what is happening in the songs.
This unit is an adapted extract from the Open University course
This material is from our archive and is an adapted extract from From Enlightenment to Romanticism c.1780-1830 (A207), which is no longer taught by The Open University. If you want to study formally with us, you may wish to explore other courses we offer in this subject area
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 2nd July 2013
Last updated on: Tuesday, 2nd July 2013
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