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A Thesis Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Music, Major: Music, Under the Supervision of Professor Pamela Starr. Lincoln, NE: May, 2016

Copyright (c) 2016 Delane J. Boyd


This thesis seeks to communicate the ways in which supernatural beings were musically depicted in dialogue Lieder of the Romantic era. Through analyses of a selection of nineteenth-century German art songs featuring both human and non-human participants within the textual conversations, this study endeavors to identify musical techniques composers used to distinguish between supernatural and mortal speech in songs presented as dialogues while composed for a solo singer. The document is organized into three sections. The first establishes a historical framework for the supernatural dialogue Lied through discussion of the context of German Romanticism, the roots of the prevalence of supernatural themes and subjects in nineteenth-century poetry and music, and the elements of the dialogue text format. The second section examines three songs by Franz Schubert that each include a personification of death as the non-human participant in the dialogues. The third section considers three songs by the later Lied composers Robert Schumann, Hugo Wolf, and Gustav Mahler, each of which features a character whose supernatural nature is revealed through the dialogue’s progression. The closing statement provides a summary of the musical techniques used to portray non-human characters and discusses the historical and artistic significance of the small yet intriguing subgenre of nineteenth-century supernatural dialogue Lieder.

Adviser: Pamela Starr

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