Skip to main content

Selected Topics in Music Theory (435-0-1)


Romantic Song


Danuta Mirka

Meeting Info

RCMA Lower Level 111: Mon, Wed 11:00AM - 12:20PM

Overview of class

German Romantic song (Lied) takes a special place in the repertoire of Western art music. Born from the spirit of Romanticism, it epitomizes the aesthetics of this artistic movement by its deep bond between music and poetry and intimate collaboration of voice and accompaniment. In this course we will trace the development of German Romantic song from its origins in Schubert, through its further development by Schumann and Brahms, until its late incarnations in orchestral songs by Mahler and Richard Strauss. Underway, we will learn the German poets whose texts were most frequently set to music (Goethe, Müller, Heine, Eichendorff, Rückert), explore issues of poetic rhythm, meter, and versification, and investigate their relation to musical rhythm, meter and form. We will excavate meaning and expression of individual songs as it emerges from the interaction between music and poetry and from interrelation of individual songs within song cycles.

The course will be of interest for students of music theory, musicology as well as vocal and instrumental performance.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the class the student will be expected to have become familiar with some of the most celebrated Romantic songs and song cycles and have developed an understanding of how interaction of poetry with music and vocal part with accompaniment contributes to their meaning and expression.

Class Materials (Required)

No textbooks required