Franz Schubert was an Austrian composer, who lived in the end of 18th – first half of 19th centuries. According to his creative works he belongs to the early Romantic period in music, which characterized by interest to the folk songs, depicting of brave and tragic heroes etc. Schubert was not famous during his life but decades later he was highly appreciated by such famous composers and musicians as Franz Liszt, Johannes Brahms and Robert Schumann. Besides, the ordinary audience familiarized with his musical pieces and he is still very popular at the concerts in philharmonics and opera houses.
The Erlkonig or Erlking is a special kind of musical creativity titled Lied (from German word meaning “song”). Lied is not only the music but the poetry as well. This song was created on the setting of Goethe’s poem. The poem is rather tragic. It tells the story of a child, who was killed by a mythological character Erlking. The child was travelling with his father and asked for help but father did not believe the child and the last one was taken by the creature.
The poem depicts four different characters – the narrator, the father, the child and the Erlking. To show the difference between them Schubert used different musical devices and wrote different parts for every voice. The Narrator sings in minor mode and has a middle range voice. To show that narrator is not a frightening character composer used major mode when the narrator begins to sing. The rhythm of his song is simple. However, it becomes more and more complicated using quavers to show the tragic line of the Lied. The child (the Son) is singing in a high range and the pitch is getting higher with the course of the Lied to show the anxiety of an infant. He is singing in a minor mode. The line of the Erlking is major. He is singing in two voices – one when he is singing to the child and tries to persuade him. In this way he sings in childish and rather high voice. In other cases he sings in a lower range to create an effect of being supernatural creature. Father’s voice is the lowest. However, it becomes a little higher to the end of the poem. Probably, to show that he is worried for his child. Father is singing both in major and minor modes.