Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis. Page: 13
The following text was automatically extracted from the image on this page using optical character recognition software:
Schumann does not set the emotional highlight of Scene 1 as a whimsical game of folly but
recognizes the seriousness of the situation and composes this section of music from Gretchen's
point of view. He portrays Gretchen's growing amorous feelings through a series of ascending
sweeping vocal phrases increasing in dynamics and intensity. "Er liebt mich, liebt mich nicht",
the popular children's game of "he loves me, he loves me not" involves pulling off the petals of
daisies. The rapture expressed in Gretchen's vocal line as she plucks the final petal does not
foreshadow her eventual downfall and of those dear to her. Not only will she lose her life, but
she will lose her child, mother and her brother through a series of events related to her blind
infatuation with Faust. This section, with its sweeping phrases in the vocal part in contrast to the
rest of Scene 1, is an example of an accompanied recitative. The recurring triplet pattern in the
orchestra has ceased; instead, Schumann uses sustained chords to harmonize the highly poignant
text and allows the singer to occupy the central focus. This change in orchestration signifies a
change in Gretchen's mood. Schumann increases the tension in this scene by portraying
Gretchen's emotions musically through a series of ascending sequential appoggiaturas in
Gretchen's melodic line which are dissonant with the underlying harmonies in the orchestra. As
she nears the end of the petals on the flower, the excitement builds even further by a shortening
of the rests between the entrances of Gretchen's emotional outbursts in the vocal line. This also
gives her a sense of breathlessness or gasping one associates with amorous excitement.
Gretchen's feelings of euphoria are expressed musically at the climax of this section where the
soprano sings the highest pitch for her character to this point (see Figure 8). The word "love" is
set on the highest pitch, G, which is dissonant against the F major harmony of the orchestra and
resolves downward by step when she sings the word "mich" (me). This resolution overlaps with
the start of the next phrase, Faust's vocal line. It is the first time in the scene in which the
Here’s what’s next.
This dissertation can be searched. Note: Results may vary based on the legibility of text within the document.
Citing and Sharing
Basic information for referencing this web page. We also provide extended guidance on usage rights, references, copying or embedding.
Reference the current page of this Dissertation.
Paoletti Jr., Karl. Scenen aus Goethes Faust: A performer's analysis., dissertation, August 2008; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc9053/m1/19/: accessed May 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .