Consider the relationship between music and poetry in any two songs from Schumann’s Dichterliebe.


Consider the relationship between music and poetry in any two songs from Schumann’s Dichterliebe. In what ways do these songs reflect the concept of the ‘Romantic fragment’?

For this assignment, you must NOT use websites other than Grove Online. Useful reading material can be found in the ‘Reading’ section of the Blackboard site, and in the course textbooks in the Reserve collection.

– Analysis
Use the techniques and approaches from the lecture and seminar devoted to German song (together with ideas from your reading) to analyse the two songs you have chosen. Remember to concentrate on the relationship between the music and the poetry, and on the idea of the Romantic fragment.

Your essays should:
– be submitted electronically through eAssignment ( by 4pm, Monday 14 May 2018.
– be 1000 words in length (±10%)
– be word-processed, using double spacing
– contain musical examples
– include references for any quotations and/or paraphrases, and a bibliography
– be carefully checked for grammar and spelling, particularly of German words

– Aims
This assignment aims to hone your music-analytical skills, and to improve your ability to relate ideas that you have read to specific pieces of music. It will also provide further practice at academic writing skills, especially using appropriate language, checking your work carefully, using references and bibliography, and making effective use of musical examples.

This assignment will be assessed on the following criteria:
• structure and clarity of written expression
• familiarity with and insight into the music being discussed
• handling of secondary sources, and use of your own original ideas
• appropriate and effective use of references and musical examples
• accuracy of spelling, punctuation, and grammar




 Opera seria continues the Baroque operatic tradition. It has serious themes from mythology and antiquity or their renaissance imitations. Characters are gods and semi-gods, kings and heroes.

 Opera buffa is a new phenomenon emerging in the first half of the 18th century. Themes are taken from everyday life and feature normal people of various social stations.

 Many characters of opera buffa closely resemble stock characters of semi-improvised commedia dell’arte (Arlecchino, Colombina, Dottore, Pantalone etc.)

 Although social rank of individual characters plays an important role in their musical characterisation, in opera buffa social order is frequently turned upside down. Servant may be disguised as a master or vice versa (Pergolesi, La serva padrona, 1733); servant outwits the master etc. This has social and political implications.


 Opera seria plots mostly based on subjects drawn from classical mythology, ancient history, or epic poems.

 Male hero typically performed by a castrato (sexual abstraction, emphasis on virtuosity)

 Structurally, operas consist of an abundance of arias in ‘da capo’ form separated by recitatives.
 Recitatives, often dialogic, carry the action forward
 Arias provide opportunities for emotional outpour, virtuosic display

 The operas Georg Friedrich Handel wrote for Italy and, especially, for London exemplify some of the common traits and procedures
 Examples: ‘da capo’ arias from Rinaldo (1711)

 France was the only European country in which Italian opera was not acritically accepted, and where, by the beginning of the 18th century, an autonomous opera tradition had developed.
 The central figure in early 18th-century French opera was Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764). Between 1733 and 1760, twenty-four of his dramatic works were performed at the Opéra in Paris, at Versailles, and at Fontainebleau.


 In the first part of the century Italy is dominated by the lyric opera represented by the towering presence of Gioachino Rossini (1792-1868).

 Composition of opera happened at a very fast pace.

 There was a constant demand for new works (like there is demand for new films today). The success of an opera was measured more by the breadth of its circulation than by its longevity.

 Furthermore, in the early nineteenth century composers were typically paid on commission, and needed to produce new operas (often three or more in a year) in order to earn an income.

 Rossini helped established formal procedures that were applied consistently in operatic numbers, including aria, duets, and ensembles.

 Each number consists of several sections, allowing for considerable dramatic development (to a greater extent than ‘da capo’ arias’)

o Tancredi, Tancredi’s entrance aria
• Divides into four sections:
o Orchestral prelude
o Recitative
o Slow movement (also referred to as ‘cantabile’)
o Fast movement (‘cabaletta’)
Each section is clearly characterized musically. There is linear progression and no return of materials heard previously (as one would find in a ‘da capo’ aria);
The length of the text is substantially greater than the typical eight lines (two 4-line stanzas) of a ‘da capo’ aria;
The contents are varied and show different sides of Tancredi’s personality and feelings.

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