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Narrative and Robert Schumann’s Songs
Title Details

308 Pages

22.8 x 15.2 cm

28 musical exx. and 4 b/w illus.

Imprint: University of Rochester Press

Narrative and Robert Schumann’s Songs

A New Approach to the Romantic Lied

by Andrew H. Weaver

  • Description
  • Contents
  • Author
Featuring 28 music examples this book takes an innovative approach to analyzing and interpreting nineteenth-century German song, offering new perspectives on Robert Schumann's Lieder and song cycles.

Robert Schumann's Lieder are among the richest and most complex songs in the repertoire and have long raised questions and stimulated discussion among scholars, performers, and listeners. Among the wide range of methodologies that have been used to understand and interpret his songs, one that has been conspicuously absent is an approach based on narratology (the theory and study of narrative texts).

Proceeding from the premise that the performance of a Lied is a narrative act, in which the singer and pianist together function as a narrator, Andrew Weaver's groundbreaking study proposes a comprehensive theory of narratology for the German Romantic Lied and song cycle, using Schumann's complete song oeuvre as the test case. The theory, grounded in the work of narratologist Mieke Bal but also drawing upon recent work in literary theory and musicology, illuminates how music can open up new meanings for the poem, as well as how a narratological analysis of the poem can help us understand the music.

Weaver's book offers new insights into Schumann's Lieder and the poetry he set while simultaneously proposing a methodology applicable to the analysis and interpretation of a wide range of works, including not only the rich treasury of German Lieder but also potentially any genre of accompanied song in any language from the Middle Ages to the present day.
Note on Online Material
Part One: A Theory of Narratology for the Lied
1. Narratological Foundations: The Lied as Narrative Text
2. Narrative Agency: Narrators, Characters, Focalizers
3. Narrative Action: Events in Lyric Poetry and Lieder
Part Two: Schumann's Lieder through the Narratological Lens
4. Narrating in Song: Analyses of Individual Lieder
5. Schumann and the Ballad
6. Multiplying Voices: Schumann's Songs for Two, Three, and Four Voices
7. Schumann's Cycles
Glossary of Narratological Terms
Index of Schumann's Songs
General Index

ANDREW H. WEAVER is Professor of Musicology at The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC.



June 2024

£80.00 / $115.00

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June 2024

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Title Details

308 Pages

2.28 x 1.52 cm

28 musical exx. and 4 b/w illus.

Imprint: University of Rochester Press