Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Karen Bottge


The study of the interaction between musical and text-based elements in songs has received a great amount of attention in recent years. Although numerous previous researchers have contributed to the study of Brahms’s Lieder, more work remains to explore Brahms’s various compositional techniques of modification to reveal the music-text relationship and performance implications in his strophic songs. Since the majority of Brahms’s modified strophic songs were composed during his later Viennese period (1875–97), this dissertation offers a thorough analysis of Brahms’s late twenty-eight strophic solo Lieder and develops a new formal model to categorize them as one of four types of modified strophic form (hereafter MSF): Type-1 MSF: Slight Modifications; Type-2 MSF: Changes to Phrase Rhythm; Type-3 MSF: Changes of Key; and Type-4 MSF: Significant Modifications.

This dissertation employs varied analytical methods and approaches (e.g., hypermetrical reconstructions and voice-leading reductions) to establish four primary strategies by which to interpret Brahms’s modified strophic design. To make the meaning of the poem more closely integrated with Brahms’s musical setting, I suggest that performers should display different emphases and interpretations to reflect Brahms’s changes to melody, accompaniment, phrase rhythm, and harmonization. Thus, my thorough analysis attempts to motivate researchers to rethink and connect Brahms’s solo Lieder with these four areas of music-theoretical attention—analysis and performance, rhythm and meter, large-scale organization, and music-text relations. This in-depth exploration into Brahms’s compositional tendencies during his later Viennese period will facilitate future research into additional solo modified strophic Lieder of both Brahms and his contemporaries.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

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