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Franz Schubert


Lebenslust is a lively choral piece written for SATB and piano accompaniment

by Franz Schubert. The text embodies a positive message that happiness can be
found in the company of others.

This piece was composed in during the artistic, literary, and intellectual

movement of Romanticism. The ideals of Romanticism were in opposition to

Classicalisms emphasis on restraint and formality. Romantics focused on the
expression of emotions through the arts. Music was intended to provide a
transcendent experience for the listener. Different ranges of emotions were
explored such as fear and apprehension, which created a different aesthetic
experience. Romantics valued beauty and nature, and these

Franz Schubert (1797-1828) composed over 600 secular vocal works,

primarily Lieder, seven finished symphonies with an unfinished 8th and 9th, as well
as numerous chamber and piano pieces. He was the son of a schoolmaster, who gave
him basic violin technique lessons when he was a little boy. His brother, Ignaz gave
him beginner piano lessons as well. In 1804, he caught the attention of Antonio
Salieri who was interested in his vocal talent modeled in the Imperial Court Chapel

Choir. Schubert began composing music during his time with the Stadtkonvikt
orchestra in 1808. He continued writing which was funded by a group of friends
known as the Schubertiades. Schuberts output of music is astonishing considering
he lived for only 31 short years. His music has been described to have tuneful
lyricism, usually with strong piano accompaniments. Schubert is known for his
ability to seamlessly change keys, often to far away key areas.

Schubert was given a text by Johann Karl Unger to set to music. Lebenslust

was the product of this collaboration, commissioned by the Schubertiades. The piece
is like a country dance, and the feel of the piece communicated its joyful message.


The secular text for Lebenslust comes from a poem by Johann Karl Unger. In

1818, the poet/composer wrote the text for Schubert to set to music. The poems
text is full of life and happiness. Its message is to anyone that feels pleasure in life
will never be alone, and the company of others will bring happiness to ones life.

Wer Lebenslust fhlet, der bleibt nicht allein,

Allein sein ist de, wer kann sich da freun?

Im traulichen Kreise, beim herzlichen Ku?

Beisammen zu leben, ist Seelengenu!

Love of Life

Those who experience lifes joy do not remain alone.

To be alone is so dull;

Who can possibly enjoy that?

In an intimate circle of friends, with a heart-felt kiss,

To live together is the souls delight!


Lebenslust appears to be in ABA. The piano accompaniment plays a large part in this
piece, and it also contributes to the contrasting phrases as well. Schubert marks
different phrases by changing the accompaniment. Also, the phrases in this piece are
quite short, so it will be important to teach it in little snippets.

A (1-14)



B (14-18)
A (18-38)





The same rhythmic motives occur throughout the course of this piece.

Schubert consistently writes a dotted-8th followed by 16th, 8th note pattern which is
then followed by three eighth notes. This figure appears mainly in both A sections in
all of the voice parts. The meter is 6/8, and there is definite feel in two throughout
the piece. It might be tricky to teach the dotted quarter note tied to and eighth note
followed by two eighth notes. However, if I teach the choir to subdivide by eighth
notes, I think it will assist in making them more successful with rhythm. The rhythm
creates a dance-like and lively feel which helps bring out the meaning of the text.


The light and buoyant melody stays primarily with the sopranos throughout

this piece. There are variations of the main melody which occurs at measures (5-8).
In the A section, the melody appears slightly different in (30-34), however, the
rhythmic motives stay the same. The melody in the B section is much different. It is
much more legato with longer note values, and the rhythmic motives are not as
jagged as the dotted eighth, sixteenth, eighth note pattern in the main melody. The
main melody is primarily in a major key, however, in the transition to the B section,
it begins to transition into the minor key.


Harmonically, this piece is very tonal. However, Schubert incorporates

seamless modulations into different key areas in the B section. The piece begins in D
major, and it begins to transition to d minor in measure 12. Schubert stays in d
minor for only a few measures. The cadence at measure 18 is an E major chord
which functions as the dominant, and that tells me that Schubert has modulated to A
major for only two measures or so. In measure 18, Schubert is back in D major, and
the piece stays in a clear D major until the end.

At the beginning of the piece, Schubert has a lot of the voicings in unision.

Sopranos and basses share a lot of the same pitches, and so do sopranos and tenors.
As the section begins to transition to d minor, Schubert creates tension by having
the altos and basses singing in dissonance through measures 7-11. Aurally, it is very
evident that something interesting is going to happen harmonically in these


Aurally, Lebenslust is a very bright piece. It is in the key of D major, which

tends to have a very bright sound. I think the timbre fits the mood of the piece. It is
supposed to be very joyful and full of life, and the brightness makes that mood very
apparent. Also, the piece is supposed to be dance-like, and I think the brightness
contributes to that feel as well.


There are a lot of dynamic markings in this piece. There are hairpin

crescendos and decrescendos when the melody line goes up and down in pitch. I am
not sure if these dynamics were what Schubert wrote or if they are the editors
decisions. However, I think the dynamics create a lot of contrast in the piece. For
example, when the melody line is repeated twice in a row in the first 8 bars, there is
a subito piano marking. This creates contrast from the first time the choir sings this
melody. Also, there are ritards marked at the end of the A and B sections. These
must be to help create a sense that a new section or idea is coming.

The tempo is fairly quick, and I think that definitely contributes to the light,

dance-like feel of the piece. I think articulations will be important in this piece. The
beginning and end of the piece needs to be very light and buoyant while the B
section needs to be more legato and lyrical. That section has a particular pulling
sensation that I hear, and I think difference in articulation paired with dynamic
contrast will help the choir create contrast between sections.

The piece has a strong two feel, and beats one and four are very important.

The choir needs to know this information to sing the phrasing properly.


There is a definite contrast between sections in this piece. The B section is

much different in regard to harmony, rhythm, and articulation. Schubert unifies the
piece by bringing back the same rhythmic motive at measure 19, which appears at
the very beginning of the piece. Even though the melody is not exactly the same in
the A and A sections, it is still evident that the melodies are connected. It is a
possibility that Schubert did not use the exact same melody at the end of the piece
because the text is different there. Also, I think the piece feels unified because of
Schuberts ability to seamlessly change keys. However, his harmonic choices and the
happy aura of the piece keep it interesting for the listener because they are
somewhat unexpected.


It will be important for me to begin the piece by teaching the rhythm. I think

the dance-like feel of the piece will be important to convey to students, and a great
way to set that up is to teach the rhythm. Also, I think conducting in two might be a
challenge for me, especially because I like to beat out the beats. However, I think it
will be good for me because I will be forced to keep my gesture high, small, and light.
Teaching the modulations might be kind of tricky. I think it will be difficult for the
choir to hear them right away, so I need to make sure I teach them in a key that
makes sense aurally.


Skill: Students will perform with rhythmic vitality.

Students will be asked to ch-ch the main rhythmic motives of the piece. They will be
encouraged to keep the dotted rhythms light with a slight separation to contribute
to the style of the piece. Students will also be asked to subdivide such rhythms. The
rhythms will be performed with energy with proper articulations. To assist with
lightness, I will have the choir do a bouncy kinesthetic with their hands when we
rehearse the main rhythmic motive.

Knowledge: Students will analyze the concept of dissonance as an expressive device.

Students will be asked to identify dissonances between parts leading up to the B

section. After they are identified, students will be talk within their sections about
how the dissonances contribute to the expression of these particular measures of
music. (This will be a TPS-Think Pair Share Activity). After the sections discuss, they
will do a sharing whip as a whole class to discuss what they talked about within
their sections.

Affective: Students will express their feelings about the poem and how it pertains to
their own life experiences.

As a class, we will discuss the meaning of the poem by Johann Karl Unger. I will ask
students to talk about how they feel about the meaning of the poem. Have they had

any experiences that the presence of another person impacted their life in a positive
way? Do you need other people in your life to be happy? I will ask students to share
life experiences or particular instances/situations that speak to this question.