In the Dark Shadow: Enharmonic Equivalence as Subtext in Two Wolf Lieder

Robert T. Kelley

Here you will find the paper I delivered at the 2003 Hugo Wolf Symposium at Florida State University. In addition to interpretation based on enharmonic progressions, I have also begun looking at directional tonality in Wolf's songs. Feel free to contact me about my work with enharmonic progressions and directional tonality in this and other repertoires that use chromatic harmony: <>.

In the Dark Shadow:
Enharmonic Equivalence as Subtext in Two Wolf Lieder

(PDF format)


Chromatic chord usage in many of Hugo Wolf's songs often results in progressions that require enharmonic reinterpretation of certain notes in order to return to the original key. In two songs, "Und steht Ihr früh am Morgen auf vom Bette" from the Italianisches Liederbuch and "In dem Schatten meiner Locken" from the Spanisches Liederbuch, repeated enharmonic progressions result from chordal root motion by ascending major thirds. Because of the phenomenological confusion inherent in enharmonic progressions (Has the music moved to another tonal region, or has it returned to where it started?), such progressions can play an important role in the interpretive process. I suggest one interpretation of these enharmonic shifts, and demonstrate how such enharmonic progressions can form a structural musical basis for the perception of a richer subtextual meaning of text and music.

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(c) 2003 . Reproduction of any part of or ideas from this document without is unlawful.