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The Italienisches Liederbuch of Hugo Wolf

Description: This study was undertaken with the purpose of affording some insight into the musical aims and composing methods of Hugo Wolf, of showing his position in the history of the German Lied and his contributions to the development of this form through the analysis of one part of his work.
Date: January 1954
Creator: Friedel, Jenny Ruth Reed
Partner: UNT Libraries

Hugo Wolf's Interpretation of Paul Heyse's Texts: An Examination of Selected Songs from the Italienisches Liederbuch

Description: In a Romantic song cycle or songbook, songs tend to share many common ideas because they are used to set to the poems from one collection written or collected by one author. Many composers designed the same motivic or structural elements to a group of songs for unity, and sometimes they made chronological narratives for the series of poems. Music theorists have tried to find out a way of giving a sense of unity or narrative to the songs in a song cycle or songbook by analyzing its musical language and text setting. They have suggested plausible explanations for the relationships among the songs in a song cycle or songbook, and some theorists have traced the tonal movements and provided a visual explanation for them. Hugo Wolf's two volumes of the Italienisches Liederbuch (1890-91, 1896) were set to the forty-six poems from Paul Heyse's well-selected works. Wolf's way of selecting poems from Heyse's collection seems inconsistent, and his song ordering in the both volumes does not show evident rules. However, a closer study for relationships between the songs could widen our perspective to comprehend the whole songbook as a unified storyline. This study selected the first four songs from each volume of the Italienisches Liederbuch, and analyzed the eight songs in a traditional way, accounting for harmony, motivic feature, tonal movement, form, and text setting. The study finds that Wolf used the third relationships among the songs to convey a storyline in his order of the songs, and especially exploited the direction of thirds for his own narrative. While this may only be a pilot study with partial results, it can serve as a stimulus for a comprehensive study of factors that provide unity in the cycle as a whole.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Shin, Dong Jin
Partner: UNT Libraries

Harmony in the Songs of Hugo Wolf

Description: The songs of Hugo Wolf represent the culmination of the Romantic German Lied tradition. Wolf developed a personal chromatic harmonic style that allowed him to respond to every nuance of a poetic text, thereby stretching tonality to its limits. He was convinced, however, that despite its novel nature his music could be explained through the traditional theory of harmony. This study determines the degree to which Wolf's belief is true, and begins with an evaluation of the current state of research into Wolf's harmonic practice. An explanation of my analytical method and its underlying philosophy follows; historical perspective is provided by tracing the development of three major elements of traditional theory from their inception to the present day: fundamental bass, fundamental chords, and tonal function. The analytical method is then applied to the works of Wolf's predecessors in order to allow comparison with Wolf. In the investigation of Wolf's harmonic practice the individual elements of traditional functional tonality are examined, focusing on Wolf's use of traditional harmonic functions in both traditional and innovative ways. This is followed by an investigation of the manner in which Wolf assembles these traditional elements into larger harmonic units. Tonal instability, rapid key shifts, progressive tonality, tonal ambiguity, and transient keys are hallmarks of his style. He frequently alters the quality of chords while retaining the function of their scale-degree root. Such "color" chords are classified, and their effect on harmonic progression examined. Wolf's repetitive motivic style and the devices that he employs to provide motion in his music are also discussed. I conclude by examining Wolf's most adventuresome techniques—including parallel chords successions, chromatic harmonic and melodic sequences, and successions of augmented triads--and the suspension of tonality that they produce. This project encompasses all of Wolf's songs, and should be a useful tool for Wolf ...
Date: August 1989
Creator: McKinney, Timothy R. (Timothy Richmond)
Partner: UNT Libraries