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Franz Schubert

BIOGRAPHY

Franz Schubert (31 January 1797 - 19 November 1828) was an Austrian composer during the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras. He wrote over 1500 works, but is known best for his lieder and chamber works. He also wrote symphonies, masses, and piano works.

Schubert’s works are notable for their melody and modulations to distant keys. His lieder were particularly influential. He set works from poets such as Goethe, Schiller, and Müller, using progressive harmony and dramatic elements. Schubert was also skilled at creating images for the listener with the keyboard. For example, in the Lied, "Erlkönig," Schubert writes triplets in the piano part to mimic horse hooves.

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SCORE READING

In this excerpt of "Gretchen am Spinnrade," pay attention to the repetitive piano part, which symbolizes Gretchen’s spinning wheel in the treble clef and the foot treadle in the bass clef.