Song Composition: 12-Tone Composition

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The use of word painting in this 12-tone composition is certainly different from the one in a tonal work, because assigning a melismatic melody over a certain syllable or word is almost impossible. In this song, the word painting uses the entire vocal melody of a certain line of the poem to emanate the implied meaning of the line, while either the canonical passage or the palindrome supports the word painting accomplished by the melody. For example, part of the melody in the vocal line for the fourth line of the poem that tells unter deiner Hand zur Ruh (“gain rest beneath your hand”) gradually descends from E5 to D4 (mm.8-10). The harp passage, the arpeggiated pitches in the piano at m. 8, symbolizes a restful moment thus reiterates the interpretation of this fourth line of the poem. However, the…show more content…
In mm. 11-12, the vocal imitates the piano but with changes in the register resulting a change in the contour (fig. 17). A higher pitch with a longer duration (F5) on the word Schmerz (“pain“) give special importance to the word, and a minor 9th leaps from Bb3 to B4 followed by a diminished 5th leaps from B4 to F5 bring about an additional emphasis (fig. 17).While the left hand part of the piano plays a descending line, the right hand part provides a contrast by playing an ascending line until it hits the highest pitch Eb7 in m. 12 (fig. 17). The Cb1 and Eb7 in the piano and the F5 in the vocal provide contrast and amplify the word Schmerz (“the pain“) (fig. 17). As an additional example, the vocal line of the sixth line of the poem has a contour similar to the one of palindrome E played by the piano. The arch shape of both piano and the vocal project the line of the poem that says Well ' um Welle schlafen leget, (“wave upon wave lies in sleep“) (fig.

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