Analysis of Lebenslust

October 9, 2017 | Author: chloe.peterson | Category: Franz Schubert, Rhythm, Harmony, Classical Music, Pop Culture
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Chloe  Peterson     ANALYSIS   Lebenslust   Franz  Schubert     GENERAL  INFORMATION    

Lebenslust  is  a  lively  choral  piece  written  for  SATB  and  piano  accompaniment  

by  Franz  Schubert.  The  text  embodies  a  positive  message  that  happiness  can  be   found  in  the  company  of  others.      

This  piece  was  composed  in  during  the  artistic,  literary,  and  intellectual  

movement  of  Romanticism.  The  ideals  of  Romanticism  were  in  opposition  to   Classicalism’s  emphasis  on  restraint  and  formality.  Romantics  focused  on  the   expression  of  emotions  through  the  arts.  Music  was  intended  to  provide  a   transcendent  experience  for  the  listener.  Different  ranges  of  emotions  were   explored  such  as  fear  and  apprehension,  which  created  a  different  aesthetic   experience.  Romantics  valued  beauty  and  nature,  and  these      

Franz  Schubert  (1797-­‐1828)  composed  over  600  secular  vocal  works,  

primarily  Lieder,  seven  finished  symphonies  with  an  unfinished  8th  and  9th,  as  well   as  numerous  chamber  and  piano  pieces.  He  was  the  son  of  a  schoolmaster,  who  gave   him  basic  violin  technique  lessons  when  he  was  a  little  boy.  His  brother,  Ignaz  gave   him  beginner  piano  lessons  as  well.  In  1804,  he  caught  the  attention  of  Antonio   Salieri  who  was  interested  in  his  vocal  talent  modeled  in  the  Imperial  Court  Chapel  

Choir.  Schubert  began  composing  music  during  his  time  with  the  Stadtkonvikt   orchestra  in  1808.  He  continued  writing  which  was  funded  by  a  group  of  friends   known  as  the  Schubertiades.  Schubert’s  output  of  music  is  astonishing  considering   he  lived  for  only  31  short  years.  His  music  has  been  described  to  have  “tuneful   lyricism”,  usually  with  strong  piano  accompaniments.  Schubert  is  known  for  his   ability  to  seamlessly  change  keys,  often  to  far  away  key  areas.      

Schubert  was  given  a  text  by  Johann  Karl  Unger  to  set  to  music.  Lebenslust  

was  the  product  of  this  collaboration,  commissioned  by  the  Schubertiades.  The  piece   is  like  a  country  dance,  and  the  feel  of  the  piece  communicated  its  joyful  message.     TEXT    

The  secular  text  for  Lebenslust  comes  from  a  poem  by  Johann  Karl  Unger.  In  

1818,  the  poet/composer  wrote  the  text  for  Schubert  to  set  to  music.  The  poem’s   text  is  full  of  life  and  happiness.  Its  message  is  to  anyone  that  feels  pleasure  in  life   will  never  be  alone,  and  the  company  of  others  will  bring  happiness  to  one’s  life.     Lebenslust  

Wer  Lebenslust  fühlet,  der  bleibt  nicht  allein,  

Allein  sein  ist  öde,  wer  kann  sich  da  freu’n?  

Im  traulichen  Kreise,  beim  herzlichen  Kuβ?  

Beisammen  zu  leben,  ist  Seelengenuβ!  

Love  of  Life  

Those  who  experience  life’s  joy  do  not  remain  alone.  

To  be  alone  is  so  dull;  

Who  can  possibly  enjoy  that?  

In  an  intimate  circle  of  friends,  with  a  heart-­‐felt  kiss,  

To  live  together  is  the  soul’s  delight!  

FORM  

Lebenslust  appears  to  be  in  ABA’.  The  piano  accompaniment  plays  a  large  part  in  this   piece,  and  it  also  contributes  to  the  contrasting  phrases  as  well.  Schubert  marks   different  phrases  by  changing  the  accompaniment.  Also,  the  phrases  in  this  piece  are   quite  short,  so  it  will  be  important  to  teach  it  in  little  snippets.    

A    (1-­‐14)   (1-­‐4)    

(5-­‐8)    

(9-­‐14)  

B    (14-­‐18)   A’    (18-­‐38)   (18-­‐22)  

(23-­‐28)  

(28-­‐34)  

(35-­‐38)  

RHYTHM  

 

The  same  rhythmic  motives  occur  throughout  the  course  of  this  piece.  

Schubert  consistently  writes  a  dotted-­‐8th  followed  by  16th,  8th  note  pattern  which  is   then  followed  by  three  eighth  notes.  This  figure  appears  mainly  in  both  A  sections  in   all  of  the  voice  parts.  The  meter  is  6/8,  and  there  is  definite  feel  in  two  throughout   the  piece.  It  might  be  tricky  to  teach  the  dotted  quarter  note  tied  to  and  eighth  note   followed  by  two  eighth  notes.    However,  if  I  teach  the  choir  to  subdivide  by  eighth   notes,  I  think  it  will  assist  in  making  them  more  successful  with  rhythm.  The  rhythm   creates  a  dance-­‐like  and  lively  feel  which  helps  bring  out  the  meaning  of  the  text.    

MELODY  

 

The  light  and  buoyant  melody  stays  primarily  with  the  sopranos  throughout  

this  piece.  There  are  variations  of  the  main  melody  which  occurs  at  measures  (5-­‐8).   In  the  A’  section,  the  melody  appears  slightly  different  in  (30-­‐34),  however,  the   rhythmic  motives  stay  the  same.  The  melody  in  the  B  section  is  much  different.  It  is   much  more  legato  with  longer  note  values,  and  the  rhythmic  motives  are  not  as   jagged  as  the  dotted  eighth,  sixteenth,  eighth  note  pattern  in  the  main  melody.    The   main  melody  is  primarily  in  a  major  key,  however,  in  the  transition  to  the  B  section,   it  begins  to  transition  into  the  minor  key.  

 

 

HARMONY  

 

Harmonically,  this  piece  is  very  tonal.  However,  Schubert  incorporates  

seamless  modulations  into  different  key  areas  in  the  B  section.  The  piece  begins  in  D   major,  and  it  begins  to  transition  to  d  minor  in  measure  12.  Schubert  stays  in  d   minor  for  only  a  few  measures.  The  cadence  at  measure  18  is  an  E  major  chord   which  functions  as  the  dominant,  and  that  tells  me  that  Schubert  has  modulated  to  A   major  for  only  two  measures  or  so.  In  measure  18,  Schubert  is  back  in  D  major,  and   the  piece  stays  in  a  clear  D  major  until  the  end.    

 

At  the  beginning  of  the  piece,  Schubert  has  a  lot  of  the  voicings  in  unision.  

Sopranos  and  basses  share  a  lot  of  the  same  pitches,  and  so  do  sopranos  and  tenors.   As  the  section  begins  to  transition  to  d  minor,  Schubert  creates  tension  by  having   the  altos  and  basses  singing  in  dissonance  through  measures  7-­‐11.  Aurally,  it  is  very   evident  that  something  interesting  is  going  to  happen  harmonically  in  these   measures.    

TIMBRE  

 

Aurally,  Lebenslust  is  a  very  bright  piece.  It  is  in  the  key  of  D  major,  which  

tends  to  have  a  very  bright  sound.  I  think  the  timbre  fits  the  mood  of  the  piece.  It  is   supposed  to  be  very  joyful  and  full  of  life,  and  the  brightness  makes  that  mood  very   apparent.  Also,  the  piece  is  supposed  to  be  dance-­‐like,  and  I  think  the  brightness   contributes  to  that  feel  as  well.    

EXPRESSION  

 

There  are  a  lot  of  dynamic  markings  in  this  piece.  There  are  hairpin  

crescendos  and  decrescendos  when  the  melody  line  goes  up  and  down  in  pitch.  I  am   not  sure  if  these  dynamics  were  what  Schubert  wrote  or  if  they  are  the  editor’s   decisions.  However,  I  think  the  dynamics  create  a  lot  of  contrast  in  the  piece.    For   example,  when  the  melody  line  is  repeated  twice  in  a  row  in  the  first  8  bars,  there  is   a  subito  piano  marking.  This  creates  contrast  from  the  first  time  the  choir  sings  this   melody.    Also,  there  are  ritards  marked  at  the  end  of  the  A  and  B  sections.  These   must  be  to  help  create  a  sense  that  a  new  section  or  idea  is  coming.    

 

The  tempo  is  fairly  quick,  and  I  think  that  definitely  contributes  to  the  light,  

dance-­‐like  feel  of  the  piece.  I  think  articulations  will  be  important  in  this  piece.  The   beginning  and  end  of  the  piece  needs  to  be  very  light  and  buoyant  while  the  B   section  needs  to  be  more  legato  and  lyrical.  That  section  has  a  particular  “pulling”   sensation  that  I  hear,  and  I  think  difference  in  articulation  paired  with  dynamic   contrast  will  help  the  choir  create  contrast  between  sections.    

 

The  piece  has  a  strong  two  feel,  and  beats  one  and  four  are  very  important.  

The  choir  needs  to  know  this  information  to  sing  the  phrasing  properly.    

 

 

ADDITIONAL  CONSIDERATIONS  

 

There  is  a  definite  contrast  between  sections  in  this  piece.  The  B  section  is  

much  different  in  regard  to  harmony,  rhythm,  and  articulation.  Schubert  unifies  the   piece  by  bringing  back  the  same  rhythmic  motive  at  measure  19,  which  appears  at   the  very  beginning  of  the  piece.  Even  though  the  melody  is  not  exactly  the  same  in   the  A  and  A’  sections,  it  is  still  evident  that  the  melodies  are  connected.  It  is  a   possibility  that  Schubert  did  not  use  the  exact  same  melody  at  the  end  of  the  piece   because  the  text  is  different  there.  Also,  I  think  the  piece  feels  unified  because  of   Schubert’s  ability  to  seamlessly  change  keys.  However,  his  harmonic  choices  and  the   happy  aura  of  the  piece  keep  it  interesting  for  the  listener  because  they  are   somewhat  unexpected.    

TEACHING  THE  PIECE  

 

It  will  be  important  for  me  to  begin  the  piece  by  teaching  the  rhythm.  I  think  

the  dance-­‐like  feel  of  the  piece  will  be  important  to  convey  to  students,  and  a  great   way  to  set  that  up  is  to  teach  the  rhythm.  Also,  I  think  conducting  in  two  might  be  a   challenge  for  me,  especially  because  I  like  to  beat  out  the  beats.  However,  I  think  it   will  be  good  for  me  because  I  will  be  forced  to  keep  my  gesture  high,  small,  and  light.   Teaching  the  modulations  might  be  kind  of  tricky.  I  think  it  will  be  difficult  for  the   choir  to  hear  them  right  away,  so  I  need  to  make  sure  I  teach  them  in  a  key  that   makes  sense  aurally.    

OUTCOMES/STRATEGIES  

Skill:  Students  will  perform  with  rhythmic  vitality.    

Students  will  be  asked  to  ch-­‐ch  the  main  rhythmic  motives  of  the  piece.  They  will  be   encouraged  to  keep  the  dotted  rhythms  light  with  a  slight  separation  to  contribute   to  the  style  of  the  piece.  Students  will  also  be  asked  to  subdivide  such  rhythms.  The   rhythms  will  be  performed  with  energy  with  proper  articulations.  To  assist  with   lightness,  I  will  have  the  choir  do  a  bouncy  kinesthetic  with  their  hands  when  we   rehearse  the  main  rhythmic  motive.  

Knowledge:  Students  will  analyze  the  concept  of  dissonance  as  an  expressive  device.  

Students  will  be  asked  to  identify  dissonances  between  parts  leading  up  to  the  B   section.  After  they  are  identified,  students  will  be  talk  within  their  sections  about   how  the  dissonances  contribute  to  the  expression  of  these  particular  measures  of   music.  (This  will  be  a  TPS-­‐Think  Pair  Share  Activity).  After  the  sections  discuss,  they   will  do  a  sharing  whip  as  a  whole  class  to  discuss  what  they  talked  about  within   their  sections.  

Affective:  Students  will  express  their  feelings  about  the  poem  and  how  it  pertains  to   their  own  life  experiences.    

As  a  class,  we  will  discuss  the  meaning  of  the  poem  by  Johann  Karl  Unger.  I  will  ask   students  to  talk  about  how  they  feel  about  the  meaning  of  the  poem.  Have  they  had  

any  experiences  that  the  presence  of  another  person  impacted  their  life  in  a  positive   way?  Do  you  need  other  people  in  your  life  to  be  happy?  I  will  ask  students  to  share   life  experiences  or  particular  instances/situations  that  speak  to  this  question.    

     

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