Master of Music (MM)



Document Type



The study of musical hermeneutics, i.e. the search for finding congeneric and exogeneric meaning in music, has seen a resurgence in recent years, drawing on earlier work by McLaughlin, Coker, Kivy, and Cone. The songs of Hugo Wolf, inspired and molded by the text, lend themselves to hermeneutical study. Neumeyer and Komar have expanded Schenker’s ideas of organic structure to apply them across multi-movement works and song cycles to show the organic unity found within. Wolf’s Spanisches Liederbuch is often casually referred to as a “cycle,” but it does not fit the schema we traditionally hold for cycles in that the book as a whole does not follow one common thread. The first ten songs deal with sacred themes, the rest with worldly subjects. This study examines the ten Geistliche Lieder as a narrative song cycle. Within the sacred songs there is a cyclical thread to be found: in them, Wolf traces the redemption of mankind through the nativity, incarnation, suffering, and death of Christ that garnered man’s salvation. This paper looks at the sacred songs to find and understand this story as it is conveyed in both the text and the music in order to understand how each can inform our interpretations of the other, and to show how Wolf creates an organic unity among the entire “cycle” of sacred songs.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Perry, Jeffrey



Included in

Music Commons