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Thursday, February 21, 2008

My chord analysis for mm.137-148 of “Erlkonig” by Franz Schubert, is as follows:
m.137: i
m.141: iv(p) V
m.142:vi6 -6/4
m.144:viio4/2 /N6
m.146:bII 6
m.147:vii/V V

The scalewise motion of the left hand from mm.135 to the end helps shape the large structure of the vocal line by adding intensity and careening motion towards cadence at the end of the piece. Each time it is played, it becomes more and more intense, until relief is found in m.142 when the pattern is interrupted by the N6 and the tonicization of it that follows, creating a hopefull interlude soon to be discussed the very next paragraph!
The Neapolitan chord in measure 143 is approached, and left by very hopeful/relieved sounding chords (aka, iv). In measure 142, the step by step motion of the base sounds almost triumphant. According to the text “Erreicht den Hof mit Muhe und Not”, “He arrives in the courtyard at last, with effort and distress”. This triumphant feeling continues until measure 146, when it is discovered that the child has died. As his death is discovered, the harmony immediately starts to cadence, emphasizing the finality of the little boy’s fate.
If I were to perform this piece, (which I never would because of the very obvious issue of gender!) I would make sure that when I depict the different characters of the poem, they are very distinct and easy to tell apart from each other. I would also be sure that, even though the piano part is very agitated and frantic sounding, my voice and line remain strong and consistent. It would very easy as a singer to create tension in the voice subconsciously as the story builds. I would also make sure to include a lot of dynamic contrast. It would be very easy, given the content of the song, to sing everything forte and frantically!
This a wonderful piece. The most memorable part of it for me is sadly not the vocal part, but the brilliant piano part, without it, this piece obviously wouldn’t be half so cool. :)

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