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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Der Lindenbaum

"Der Lindenbaum" from Winterreise by Franz Schubert contains 6 strophes. It has a very consistent rhyme scheme, with every other line of the poem rhyming. In the beginning of the song, it is in E major and seems very peaceful, just like the tree swaying peacefully by the fountain. It is written very subjectively, with the author telling us a tale from his experience. You can picture him sitting under the tree on a nice sunny day daydreaming. But then it becomes dark, where we switch to E minor. Soon it returns to a peaceful E major, but again the weather changes to cold and windy and the key switches back and forth to a dreary E minorish prolongation of a bVI for awhile until we return to E major as he escapes the cold.
Again, the poem has a very consistent rhyme scheme, with every two lines rhyming, which is reflected in the music. Each phrase is two lines of poetry, and therefore every pair of phrases rhyme. Looking at the entire song we see that each strophe contains a stanza of poetry, although the first two and second two seem to mesh together, while the fifth and sixth are their complete own individual sections
Taking a look at the key, we see that the first two strophes are in E major, as the poem is very peaceful and positive. However, at the third strophe, it is now nighttime and dark, where we switch to a sadder E minor. In strophe four we return to E major, as the tree is tempting the man with happiness and peace., but in strophe five the wind begins to blow and he loses his had. Musically we appear to be in E minor, but it actually a prolongation of a bVI chord, reflecting unstableness, until he escapes the unknown and we return to E major.
There are many instances of text painting in Schubert's song. For example, in measure 36, he closes his eyes to the temptation of the tree, which is finalized with a PAC, almost as to say that his decision is strong and final. Also in measure 71 into 72 we move upward by stepwise motion as the branches rustle, as if the wind is rustling them right up the scale.