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Three Songs from Des Knaben Wunderhorn by Gustav Mahler

Description: The value of the type of musical analysis presented in this study is based on the assumption that the more thorough an understanding the performer has of his repertoire, of both musical and non-musical elements, the more authentic the performance will be. A knowledge of the wishes of the composer and of the historical period, added to an analysis of poetry, melodic contour, harmony, rhythm, accompaniment, and texture, provides the performer with the necessary background to form his interpretation of a song. The interpretation of "Wo die schonen Trompeten blasen" depends upon an accurate execution of the various rhythmic patterns in both the vocal line and the accompaniment. The sometimes opposing rhythms (two against three) between the voice and accompaniment should be carefully observed. Another important interpretive aspect is the portrayal of both characters in the poem (the soldier and his sweetheart). Character differentiation is primarily achieved through the singer's vocal color, intensity, and general deportment. The singer must thoroughly understand the poetry and have formed a definite personality for each character. In "Das irdische Leben" the individuality of each character in the poem is even more essential. The three characters are musically differentiated by the three individual patterns of vocal melody and rhythm. These three types of vocal melodies help determine the vocal color for each character. The chromatic and ever-moving accompaniment helps build the tension of this macabre tale, but the most outstanding feature of this song must be the vocal color and characterization supplied by the singer. The light, yet ironic, humor is the most important element of "Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt." The tonal painting of the accompaniment creates the proper atmosphere for this fish tale. To project the poetry's humorous descriptions of the various fishes, the singer must pay special attention to vocal inflection and …
Date: December 1972
Creator: Mayo, Carol J.
Partner: UNT Libraries
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