Arnold Schoenberg’s Harmonielehre (1910) and Fundamentals of Musical Composition (1937–48) show a specific interest in vocal tone color. His exploration of Sprechstimme significantly parallels these writings. Schoenberg was aware of timbre as a compositional tool, but also, that listeners might not engage with this facet of music. Schoenberg emphasized the importance of moving away from the constructed elements in music (e.g. theme, harmony, form), in favor of direct artistic expression by more abstract means. During the same period, he ended Harmonielehre by reiterating the importance of timbre, without offering solutions for hearing or analyzing timbre. Rather, he challenged readers with the now famous question “Wer wagt hier Theorie zu fordern?”. Essays by Bonenfant, Fales, Jarman, Kurth, and Young in the field of voice studies offer a methodological basis for timbral analysis which I will apply to several melodramas from across Schoenberg’s oeuvre. My work augments insight from traditional types of formal and harmonic analysis, and creates new critical perspectives. It elevates the collaborative influence of performers, prompts careful re-evaluation of existing recordings, and allows potential for sound to act as a carrier of meaning. This approach not only develops understanding of familiar works in the classical canon and Western popular music; it also provides another point of engagement for less familiar music (e.g. non-Western-, modern-, electronic-, and early music).
5.A.1Séance - The Second Viennese School (II): Pairing Schoenberg and Webern
Franziska Brunner is a PhD Candidate in Musicology at the University of Georgia. Her dissertation addresses issues of vocal timbre in Arnold Schoenberg’s Sprechmelodien. She is currently researching in Vienna with grant support from the Fulbright and OeAD programs as well as the Willson Center for Arts and Humanities at the University of Georgia. Her article “Shifting Sprecher: Timbral Use and Development from Gurrelieder and Pierrot lunaire” is forthcoming in the Journal of the Arnold Schönberg Center. Her research interests include music of fin-de-siècle Vienna, German Lied, pedagogy, issues of embodiment, extended vocal techniques, and German literature.
University of Georgia United States of Americaziskabru@uga.edu