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Fisherman´s Song

Fisherman´s Song

Let’s look at some more of Schubert’s songs. Not only because they touch our heart, but also because it’s simply a must to know at least a few of them.

The first song we will start with is called “Fisherman’s song” (German: Fischerweise).

 

Since we have talked about the song form and its structure last week, I believe that you will be able to understand this song on your own now. So today, I would like ant to give hints to think about.

 

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One very noticeable and important thing during the whole song is the accompaniment figure in the bass. In the recording, it can be heardtwice from 0:10 to 0:20.

Here, the total form of the “Fisherman’s song” is a little longer than last example’s. It is not repeated stanza for stanza, but instead, there is stanza 1, then a modified stanza 2. This is then repeated in stanza 3 and 4. 

 

Stanza 1+2: 0:21 – 0:34 / 0:39 – 1:05

Stanza 3+4: 1:17 – 1:30 / 1:34 – 2:01

 

The fifth stanza is a repetition of the first one with a modified ending to prepare the listener for something new.

The sixth stanza then introduces a new figure, the shepherdess, who speaks to the fisherman. And that is probably the reason why Schubert changed the melody here. Everything can be logically derived from the previous material, yet the differences are big enough to speak of something new.

 

Stanza 5: 2:11- 2:24

Stanza 6: 2:30 – 2:55

 

This stanza is also repeated in order to understand the pattern.

And to round out the song, the accompanying figure in the bass from the beginning can be heard once more. 

 

Let’s take a look at another song which means a lot to me personally: “The Linden Tree”. Here, we won’t be able to go through all the levels because this work is a lot more complex and more difficult to comprehend than the last one. So, today I will only discuss the total form, and the rest of it next week. 

 

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As always, first listen to the song for a few times without thinking about it. Don’t worry about the form or what Schubert is trying to say. Just concentrate on the music, the words and how it makes you feel. 

 

And then try to go from the outside to the inside of this song, as if you take off the layers of an onion, one after another, until you get to the core. I can still accompany you for the first steps, but the last ones you have to figure out yourself. For the song to become a part of yourself, you have to go through this individual inner process which always occurs, when a work was well analyzed and understood. 

 

The poem by Wilhelm Müller.

 

At the well before the gate
There stands a linden tree
I dreamed in its shade
Many sweet dreams.

I cut in its bark
So many words of love;
In joy and sorrow.
I was always drawn to it.

I must travel on foot today
by the tree late at night.
Even though it was dark
I closed my eyes.

At the branches rustled
as if they were calling me
Come here young man
Here you find your rest.

The cold wind blew
straight into my face
The hat flew away from my head.
I did not turn around.

Now I am many hours away
from that place
And always I hear the rustling
You find the rest there.

Now I am many hours away
from that place
And always I hear the rustling
You find the rest there.

 

Today, I would like to introduce a method professionals use to analyze music. They mark musical sections with letters in order to make them comparable.

The process is quite simple: If we designate a musical section as A, then we know that a new A is a literal repetition. A’ is a modification of A and A”is a modified part of A which is not identical with A’. And if you designate a part with B or C, you know that is something other than A.

As I said, the whole thing is very simple, but with this method it’s a lot easier to speak about music. 

 

The total form in “Lindenbaum”:

A short introduction of the piano, a prelude (PR), then part A, consisting of the first two stanzas. After a short interlude (IL), the next two stanzas need to be marked as A’, because the melody is almost identical with the one before. Then comes another short interlude and then something new. B, the fifth stanza. This part sounds completely different than anything we heard before. Then another interlude followed by the last stanza, another A, with the difference of the text being sung twice, so the length of the melody doesn’t need to be changed. The song ends with a short postlude (PL). 

 

The formal structure looks like this:

                PR       A       IL       A´       IL       B       IL       A´´       PL

 

Now you can try to listen to the song with this pattern in mind.

 

I think this is enough theory for today.Next week, we are going to further discuss and take a closer look to the song.

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Hermann Hesse

Hermann Hesse, the misunderstood dreamer, who always started a new journey.


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