Despite the fact that the tools of narratology have been used to explore a wide range of musical genres, the nineteenth-century lied has never been the subject of sustained narratological inquiry. This article proposes an application of narrative theory to the analysis and interpretation of the Romantic lied, illustrated with analyses of works by Schubert, Robert and Clara Schumann, Liszt, and Brahms. Drawing upon recent scholarship on narrative in lyric poetry and the narratological theories of Mieke Bal, the article focuses on selected aspects of narratology: the events of lyric poetry and the ways music can create new ‘discourse events’, and how music affects issues of mediacy, in particular voice and focalization (perspective). Music provides much more than mere accompaniment; rather, it can become an integral component of the narrative discourse, bringing new potential meanings to the original poem and opening up for the music analyst new interpretative angles.


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pp. 374-403
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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