Document Type


Publication Date

January 2008

Journal or Book Title

Music Theory Spectrum






This paper provides additions and alternatives to the current practice of metric analysis, drawing on the metaphor of energy, and it engages in close readings of music and text in songs by Wolf and Schoenberg. The metaphor of energy enables in-time interpretations of relations between rhythm and meter, contour, intensification and de-intensification in other domains, and the desire of musical and poetic personae. The approach is also grounded in recent theories of metaphor, cross-domain mapping, and embodied meaning. Analytical readings explore the dynamics of subjectivity in Wolf's "Um Mitternacht" and "An die Geliebte" from the Mörike Songbook and an oscillation between manic excitement and depressive calm in Schoenberg's "Valse de Chopin" from Pierrot Lunaire.


Published as "Metric Analysis and the Metaphor of Energy: A Way into Selected Songs by Wolf and Schoenberg," Music Theory Spectrum 30, no. 1 (2008): 61-87. © 2008 by the Regents of the University of California. Copying and permissions notice: Authorization to copy this content beyond fair use (as specified in Sections 107 and 108 of the U. S. Copyright Law) for internal or personal use, or the internal or personal use of specific clients, is granted by the Regents of the University of California for libraries and other users, provided that they are registered with and pay the specified fee via Rightslink® on Caliber ( or directly with the Copyright Clearance Center,

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