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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Schubert's Der Lindenbaum

Schubert's Der Lindenbaum is one of the most recognizable songs in the lieder repetoire. It is valued for its simplicity, but as for much of Shubert's repetoire, it is much more complex than it appears. The song is divided into three strophes and one b section. There is a very consistant rhyme scheme, every to lines rhyme. The images envoked are that of a tree in the night as the main character of the story walks past the tree during his winter's journey, Winterreise. When the main character talks about the cold wind blowing in his face, the music has a change to minor key, even though in the second verse there is a minor section while he talks about tye dead of night. Schubert uses a simple technique by using a major key when the narrator is happy, such as when he says "I dreamed many a sweet dream", and minor when the narrator is not happy, such as "the cold gust blew into my face" The phrases are aligned perfectly to convey the singers mood. The key progression goes from D major, in the bass key which is what I am using, to D minor, then D major, and the b section is D major but it uses a bVI chord and there is a minor feel to the B section. Again the poems mood follows the key progression. By the use of text painting, Schubert achieves the effect of the wind, and depending on where the mood of the poem the mind becomes minor at the B section and major in the beginning. The best use of text painting is used at the beginning by effecting as I said the wind motive. Schubert uses repeating 6ths to achieve this and in the B section, it feels much more minor. He uses the 6ths going down the scale as well. The chords sit aroud I V I V7 I. The vocal line also just floats above the accompaniment. Schubert's Der Lindenbaum is a stunning addition to the Winterreise cycle.

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