Daydreaming at the keyboard : cyclical mediant drifts in nine of Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte
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Through in-depth analyses of nine of Mendelssohn’s Lieder ohne Worte, this paper argues that all nine pieces follow a single underlying event-arc typified by a cyclical drift into and out of the mediant key area. When considered in the specific context of Mendelssohn’s philosophical approach to song writing, the pianistic and cultural context of the pieces, and the connotations of the Lied genre along with strategic musical features common to all nine pieces, such as consistent accompaniment texture and relatively unstable opening melodic motives, this drift can be characterized as a musical embodiment of the internal experience of daydreaming. Though the nature and content of the “daydream” arc in each piece is different, the sense of drifting away and effortless return characteristic of this event-arc is always the same.