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This course, Schubert’s Lieder: Settings of Goethe’s poems, looks at the short poems in German that were set to music by Franz Schubert (17971828) for a single voice with piano, a genre known as ‘Lieder’ (the German for ‘songs’). Once they became widely known, Schubert’s Lieder influenced generations of songwriters up to the present day. The course then discusses a selection of Schubert’s settings of Goethe’s poems, and recordings of all of them are provided. You can find the poems, in German with parallel translations into English and the music scores of four of the song settings, on the home page of the course. You are not expected to be able to read the music, but even if you are not very familiar with musical notation, you may well find the scores useful in identifying what is happening in the songs.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • Understand Schubert’s place as a composer in early nineteenth-century Vienna
  • Understand the place of Schubert in the history of German song and the development of Romanticism
  • Follow the words of songs by Schubert while listening to a recording, using parallel German and English texts
  • Comment on the relationship between words and music in Schubert’s song settings.

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