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Words and Music$
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J. G. Williamson

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780853236191

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314445

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Music and Text in Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw

Music and Text in Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw

(p.150) 6 Music and Text in Schoenberg's A Survivor from Warsaw
Words and Music

Bhesham Sharma

Liverpool University Press

A Survivor from Warsaw, one of Arnold Schoenberg's most dramatic and controversial works, is based on a narrative Schoenberg heard directly and indirectly from survivors of a Nazi concentration camp. Completed in 1946, the composition employs drums and trumpets to create the atmosphere of a military setting. Pitches are transformed to fit with the words by means of arpeggios, broken chords, trills and tremolos. This chapter explores how Schoenberg expands serial technique to dramatise the narrative elements of A Survivor from Warsaw and how he manipulates pitch, rhythm and other parameters to complement the text. After highlighting the key techniques in Schoenberg's compositional approach, the chapter considers the work from a semiological perspective.

Keywords:   A Survivor from Warsaw, Arnold Schoenberg, words, pitch, rhythm, serial technique

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