Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The music composed to accompany the film in Berg’s Opera Lulu--the “Film Music Interlude” (FMI)--is the subject of this study. Although this is film music, and Berg wrote his own Film Music Scenario, scholars have ignored writings about film theory and film music in their historical and analytical treatments of the FMI. How do writings about film theory and film music apply to the analysis and exploration of historical and social contexts of the FMI, and what musical and extramusical intentions and extensions can be drawn from the FMI? Some answers come to light while exploring sources containing Berg’s correspondence with Schoenberg, Adorno, and Morgenstern as well as the biographies on Berg by Morgenstern and Erich Alban Berg. Other answers emerge through the analysis of filmic aspects of the FMI and from selecting and examining exceptional ideas found in writings about film theory and film music (from the early 1920s to 1937) as well as reviews about the FMI at the world premiere of the opera. Chapter 1 provides a serial analysis of the FMI as a self-contained piece, focusing on the palindromic musical structure, Berg’s serial procedures and use of liquidation, and the dramatic meaning. Chapter 2 examines how Berg employs characteristically cinematic techniques (dissolves, wipes, and graphic matches) in the FMI’s music. Chapter 3 explores early writings about film theory and film music by, among others, Balázs, Musil, Arnheim, London, Schoenberg,and Adorno and how their ideas apply to the FMI. Chapter 4 investigates and presents for the first time translations of selected passages from the reviews of the 1937 premiere by, among others, David, List, Milhaud, Peyser, Reich, and Schuh. Berg’s intellectual milieu included writers on film theory and film music and while composing the FMI he was interested in film and its potential for the New Music. The most important conclusions are that the FMI is filmic music, Berg employed an editing style for his putative montage, the FMI’s fictional film can be classified as a crime film, and the FMI at its premiere received more positive and neutral reviews than negative ones.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Jan Herlinger



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Music Commons