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Musical and Theatrical Declamation in Richard Wagner’s Works and a Toolbox for Vocal Analysis
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Arts and Humanities, Department of Music and Art. (IMS)
2016 (English)In: Danish Musicology Online, ISSN 1904-237X, Vol. Special Edition, no 17th Nordic Musicological Congress, 81-105 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Richard Wagner’s musical declamation is strongly influenced by the theatrical declamation style of 1820s and 1830s Saxony, as I have shown in my doctoral thesis.[1] This has consequences for the analysis of his music because the artistic speech of the actors – a historical acoustic phenomenon that can be reconstructed roughly – determines his singing parts in many instances. In my paper, I present a new type of musical analysis, one that enables the systematic comparison of the sound of spoken language with the composed vocal melody. Positing similarities and differences between musical and theatrical declamations requires a multipronged approach. Toward this aim, I have developed an analysis consisting of eighteen different methods. The prosody – that is, the rhythmical organization of long and short syllables – the melody, the shift of tempo, the accentuation and dynamics of the spoken German language will be among other elements considered in this analysis. As I can demonstrate, all these language parameters have informed Wagner’s works to a great extent. In his case, the theatrical declamation became the germinating element of his music. To prove my thesis and to illustrate my method, I will present an analysis encompassing the entire vocal solo parts of all of Wagner’s works for the stage, finished works as well as fragments. Since this type of analysis is useful in describing and evaluating not only the final product of composition, the full score, but the composition process as well, all of Wagner’s sketches will be considered. Finally, I will reflect upon whether this kind of analysis could be applicable to other forms and styles of vocal music too.

[1] Martin Knust, Sprachvertonung und Gestik in den Werken Richard Wagners. Ein­flüsse zeitgenössischer Rezitations- und Deklamationspraxis (Berlin: Frank & Timme Verlag für wissenschaftliche Literatur, 2007), 524 pages printed + 308 pages on CD-ROM with separate paginations.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. Special Edition, no 17th Nordic Musicological Congress, 81-105 p.
Keyword [en]
Music, declamation, Richard Wagner, composition process, music analysis
National Category
Musicology
Research subject
Humanities, Musicology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-59789OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-59789DiVA: diva2:1064715
Available from: 2017-01-12 Created: 2017-01-12 Last updated: 2017-01-19Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • harvard1
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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