Type of Document Dissertation Author Adams, Sara Lyn Balduf Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-11102008-172054 Title The Development of Alban Berg's Compositional Style: A Study of his Jugendlieder (1901-1908) Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, College of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Douglass Seaton Committee Chair Charles E. Brewer Committee Member Denise Von Glahn Committee Member Matthew Shaftel Outside Committee Member Keywords
- Early Songs
- Stylistic Development
- Compositional Development
- Art Songs
- Alban Berg
Date of Defense 2008-10-27 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis dissertation explores the compositional and stylistic development of Alban Berg (1885-1935), as demonstrated in his Jugendlieder, two volumes containing 81 art songs composed between 1901 and 1908. The biographical and cultural context in which they were composed is explained, and each volume of song manuscripts is separately described with respect to poetic, rhythmic, formal, melodic, and harmonic elements. The first 34 songs (volume 1, 1901-1904) demonstrate Berg’s initial efforts to set German poetry to music. Due to his limited musical training and skill during these years, the earliest songs contain unconventional traits that would only be produced by a novice, but they also suggest that Berg modeled his compositions after nineteenth-century art songs, particularly those of Schubert, Schumann, and Brahms, which were performed in the family home by his siblings. Berg’s first love was literature, and it is therefore not surprising that illustrating the poetic images in the texts appears to have been his primary focus.
During the time when Berg composed the second volume of songs (1904-1908), he began to study music theory and composition with Arnold Schoenberg. As a result, the songs of the second phase reveal an improved understanding of tonality, chord function, and formal structure. The illustration of poetic topics, themes, and images remained a principal focus for Berg, but the texts were treated in a more subtle manner, allowing for the appearance of a greater concentration on musical devices. These songs implement exercises in variation techniques, rhythmic devices, chromaticism, and dissonance, pointing to the development of his personal style.
Ultimately, this study demonstrates that the Jugendlieder served as the foundation upon which Berg cultivated the skills needed to develop a mature compositional style that balanced Romantic conventions and modern practices.
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