Date of Completion


Embargo Period



music, vocal music, performance, analysis, Lieder, Alban Berg, Second Viennese School

Major Advisor

Dr. Peter Kaminsky

Associate Advisor

Dr. Eric Rice

Associate Advisor

Dr. Constance Rock

Field of Study



Doctor of Musical Arts

Open Access

Open Access


Alban Berg’s Sieben frühe Lieder, composed between 1905-08, lie on the border between late 19th-century Romanticism and early atonality, resulting in their particularly lyrical and yet distinctly modern character. This dissertation looks in detail at the songs with an emphasis on the relevance of a musical analysis to performers. Part I provides an overview of the historical context surrounding the Sieben frühe Lieder, including Berg’s studies with Schoenberg, stylistic features, biographical details, and analytic approaches to Berg’s work. The primary focus of the dissertation, Part II, is a study of each individual song. Each analysis begins with an overview of the formal design of the piece, taking into consideration the structure and content of the poetry, and includes a chart of the song’s form. A detailed study of the harmonic structure and motivic development within the song follows. The analysis also addresses the nuances of text setting. Following each analysis of musical structure, specific aspects of performance are discussed, including comparisons of recordings and the expressive effects of different performers’ choices. Although this document focuses primarily on the voice and piano version of the Sieben frühe Lieder, several orchestral recordings are included in the performance comparisons, elucidating further performance elements to consider. Both the musical analysis and the recording comparisons reveal compelling features of the Sieben frühe Lieder, and both work together to deepen performers’ understanding of the music.