Title page for ETD etd-11162005-195606

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Angert, Erica Brady
Author's Email Address eanger2@lsu.edu
URN etd-11162005-195606
Title Rhetoric, Form, and Sovereignty in Schubert's "Prometheus," D. 674
Degree Master of Music (M.M.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Jeffrey Perry Committee Chair
Andreas Giger Committee Member
David Smyth Committee Member
Robert Peck Committee Member
  • german
  • music theory
  • literary analysis
  • opera
Date of Defense 2005-11-04
Availability unrestricted
Franz Schubert's "Prometheus," D. 674 (1819), sets a free-verse dramatic monologue by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in which Prometheus, the Titan who presented fire and hope to mankind, declares himself independent from Zeus. This song belongs to a small group of Schubert's Lieder that resemble scenes from operas more than tonally-closed art songs. The paper discusses some of Schubert's compositional influences in the vocal genre, including Johann Friedrich Reichardt, who composed an earlier setting of the same "Prometheus" text. This paper explores the rhetorical structure of Goethe's text, which follows Quintilian's model for an effective argument, and which Schubert punctuates with changes of musical texture and character.

The paper considers previous Schenkerian models-Krebs's dual tonality and Burstein's auxiliary cadence compositions-to arrive at a tonal plan of an incomplete Bassbrechung in C major. Though the keys tonicized in "Prometheus" belong to the C-minor pitch collection, the title character's forceful conclusion is, ironically, in the key of C major. Schubert foreshadows Prometheus's eventual downfall musically by including elements of modal mixture, illustrating the precariousness of a moment that ought to be Prometheus's most decisive, his declaration of sovereignty.

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