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This free course, Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems, looks at the short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (17971828) 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. The course 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 home page of the course. 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
- Keep on learning
- Further reading
Study this free course
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Schubert's Lieder: Settings of Goethe's poems
This course 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 course 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 OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 2 study in.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Tuesday, 2nd July 2013
Last updated on: Tuesday, 2nd July 2013
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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