Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Fine Arts



First Advisor

Michael Baker


The Lorelei, a German mythical figure, is a popular topic in nineteenth-century German Lieder. However, there are also many overt references to her in the 20th and 21st centuries. Does she continue to manifest in current music in the same ways or has she evolved over time? I will also explore musical settings in which she is not specifically named, but is referenced through musical and mythical descriptors. In order to identify covert references to the Lorelei, one must first classify and understand the musical and literary signifiers that composers of the nineteenth century used to depict her in her canonical works. In this thesis, I will provide a means of identifying the mythical and musical characteristics of songs featuring the Lorelei, developing a Lorelei topos, or collective profile of musical and literary signifiers. I will then analyze songs that covertly reference her, illustrating the extent to which such songs may be regarded as either weakly or strongly implying the Lorelei as an aesthetic inspiration.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)