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Master of Music (M.M.)
Year Degree Awarded
Month Degree Awarded
The turn to the nineteenth century saw a growing interest in notions of gender, including androgyny. This interest presents itself in art and literature starting in the late eighteenth century, including Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s novel Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre. The novel contains several androgynous characters, such as Mignon. Mignon is also the character with the strongest connection to music sings almost half of the poems in the novel.
Several of Goethe’s texts have served as inspiration for composers well into the nineteenth century, including Franz Schubert and Robert Schumann. Both of these composers set poems from Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre in song cycles, Schubert’s Gesänge aus ‘Wilhelm Meister’ D877 (1826) and Schumann’s Lieder und Gesänge aus Wilhelm Meister” Op. 98a (1849). Both of these composers take different approaches
toward the text in order to present idiosyncratic representations of gender and androgyny by deploying, vocal range, phrasing, cadences, harmonies, chromaticism, and repetition. By expanding upon scholarship from literature on the androgynous nature of Mignon, this thesis not only provides new analyses of little-studied song cycles by Schubert and Schumann, but also expands knowledge about representations of androgyny in nineteenth century music. In the process, it contributes new knowledge LGBTQ+ studies within musicology.
 Franz Schubert, Gesänge aus ‘Wilhelm Meister in Schubert’s Werke, Serie XX: Sämtliche Lieder und Gesänge, No. 488-491 (Leipzig: Breitfopf & Härtel, 1985). Robert Schumann, Sämtliche Lieder, Band II: Originalausgabe (Hohe Stimme), ed. Max Friedlander (Leipzig: Peters, 1920).
Kilcommons, Kathleen S., "Understanding Mignon: Androgyny in Schubert’s and Schumann’s Song Cycles based on Goethe’s Wilhelm Meisters Lehrjahre" (2023). Masters Theses. 1302.