Document Type


Publication Date

January 2006

Journal or Book Title

Music Analysis






This article seeks to explore the hermeneutics of metric dissonance by examining the association between displacement or syncopation-type conflicts and Romantic longing (Sehnsucht) in the German Lied. It includes close readings of music-text relations in four specific songs: The 'Wandrers Nachtlied II' (Goethe/Schubert); 'Intermezzo' (Eichendorff/Schumann); 'Immer leiser wird mein Schlummer' (Lingg/Brahms); and 'Unterm Schutz' (Geroge/Schoenberg). The primary methodology for the process of metric analysis derives from the work of Harald Krebs.

The article as a whole traces changes both in the use of displacement dissonance, and in the nature of Sehnsucht, as well as correlations between the two over the course of the 'long nineteenth century'. The four analyses as a group outline an historical progression of 'introduction' (in Schubert), 'intensification' (in Schumann), 'complication' (in Brahms) and 'refraction' (in Schoenberg). The study thereby combines a history of metric dissonance - one of the recurring elements of nineteenth-century style - with that of Sehnsucht - one of the most prominent features of Romantic consciousness.


This is an electronic version of an article published in Music Analysis 25, no. 3 (2006): 251-288.

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