Argumentative, iconic, and indexical structures in Schubert&#8217;s <i>Die sch&#246;ne M&#252;llerin</i>

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Schubert&#8217;s <i>The Fair Miller-Maid</i> (1823), based on a collection of lyrics by Wilhelm M&#252;ller, is characterized by piano accompaniments that consist mainly in the iconic imitation of real world sounds and of the main character&#8217;s mood, musical strategies which any listener accustomed to classical music may recognize without knowing harmonic structures. Many claim that Schubert&#8217;s music simply illustrates and heightens M&#252;ller&#8217;s original text but his interpretation of M&#252;ller&#8217;s poems cannot be reduced to a superficial illustration. The partition shows that Schubert created a simple world of iconically determined sound patterns (flowing brook, hunter&#8217;s horn, patterns signifying death), which are quoted unusually often and varied in the very first four Lieder. These iconic, musical words, created dynamically, can contradict the song texts in the following Lieder. Another iconic device uses the opposition of minor and major tonalities, tied to illusion and reality.


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