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Christopher Mejias Music Analysis project: An Die Musik

Music Theory I

An die Musik is a song by Franz Schubert in D major set to a lyric poem by Franz von Schober. It is a strophic song consisting of two verses with the same melody and piano accompaniment. In this analysis I will examine the underlying harmonies, the vocal melody, the relationship between the vocal melody and the piano accompaniment and the relationship between the lyrics and the vocal melody.

The harmony of An Die Musik consists mostly of expansions of the tonic and dominant chords. The texture consists of repeated chords in the right hand, and while a bar may contain up to four chords most of the chords are played at least twice in the right hand. In the intro, which lasts two measures, there is a long expansion of the tonic along with a leaping bass. The intro ends with a chord in

the second measure. In the phrase consisting of measures 3 to 6 there is a tonic chord followed by two unusual predominants vi and an applied seventh chord ( /V) which lead into a chord. The phrase ends with a tonic chord expanded

with a leaping bass. The next phrase, which lasts from measures 7 to 10 starts off with a tonic chord followed by a long expansion of the dominant. An IV chord is followed by a dominant seventh, then a chromatic passing tone in the lowest voice creates an applied seventh chord ( /vi) which leads to the pre-dominant vi

which in turn leads back to the dominant seventh. This is followed by the tonic and the phrase ends on the dominant, which changes to a dominant seventh through a descending chromatic passing tone in the bass. The next phrase lasts from measures

Christopher Mejias 11 to 14. The first few bars alternate between I, V and chromatic passing tone is used to transition from V to

Music Theory I and in measure 12 a through an applied /IV) leads

seventh as in the previous phase. In measure 14, an applied dominant (

to IV in the next measure. The final phrase for the verse lasts from measures 14 to 18. In both measures 15 and 17 there is an applied dominant ( 17, this leads to a /V). In measure

chord in measure 18. In measure 15 however, the expectation . Measure

of a V chord is denied and in measure 16 there is instead a tonic chord 16 ends with an applied dominant (

/vi) which resolves to vi in the next

measure. Measures 19 to 22 are a break between the verses. They start off with a tonic followed by a seventh chord ( ) and then a I chord which becomes a rechord ends

struck suspension in measure 21 suspending an IV chord. Another

the measure followed by a I chord in the next measure which is expanded with an chord but with scale degree 3 as a pedal tone. The I chord suspends the ii chord in the next measure and a chord end the segment between the verses. The

remainder of the piece is almost an exact copy of the first half however it ends slightly differently with the I chord in the final bar delayed by a re-struck suspension consisting of the notes of the chord.

The vocal melody displays a variety of leaps and contours. The first three phrases (measures 3-6; 7-10 and 11-14) begin with and ascent followed by an immediate leap downward. The first phrase ends with a flourish, essentially a slow turn consisting of scale degrees 1, 2 and 3 which is echoed in the second phrase but shifted back half a bar creating a parallel melodic structure. The second phrase ends 2

Christopher Mejias

Music Theory I

on scale degree 3 creating less of a sense of closure than the first phrase, which ends on scale degree 1. The next phrase has a different contour gradually rising after the initial ascent and descent almost an octave up to scale degree 3 then descending through an arpeggio of the dominant down to scale degree 2. The final phrase

breaks the pattern by slowly ascending to scale degree 3, which is the climax of the verse. During this ascent, there is dissonance in the bass provided by applied dominants and sevenths as well as an unresolved applied seventh in bar 15. The unfulfilled cadence in measure 16 coincides with the climax building up tension, which is released through a true cadence in measures 17 and 18 in which there is an indirect descent in the melody down to scale degree 1. A repeated theme throughout the song is a slow ascent followed by a sudden drop of more than a fifth. This occurs in every phrase usually near the beginning but towards the end in the 4th phrase. The fourth phrase is the only phrase in which the melody ends on a strong beat which provides a greater sense of closure. The fourth phrase also ends on a perfect authentic cadence with a movement from the leading tone to the tonic in the melody. The constantly repeated chords in the piano accompaniment fill in the gaps in the melody that occur mostly in between phrases. The constant repetition also provides a sense of momentum since most of the notes of the melody are quarter notes and the notes in the right hand of the accompaniment are eight notes.

As for the lyrics, Schubert chose to use a strophic (two verse form) since the poem consists of two verses with a fairly regular structure. Each verse consists of four lines of equal length and each line was set to a musical phrase. The final line of each

Christopher Mejias

Music Theory I

verse was repeated in the song with the focal point of the lines better world! and thank thee! repeated once on at the climactic point of the song and again at the cadence. The song was set in a major key to capture the exuberance and joy that the poem portrays. In each line, the last word or words consist of the object of the preceding preposition. Without the object, the phrase is incomplete. The music parallels this structure by pairing the preposition with a dominant and the object of the preposition with the tonic. For example in measure 18 the words enraptured me to are harmonized with a dominant and a better world is harmonized with the tonic.