The song “Lost Your Head Blues” was written by Bessie Smith who was known as The Empress of the Blues in the 1920s and 1930s. The song appeared in the 1996 album called “Empty Bed Blues”. It is a song that talks of a lover who left his girl after he got money as it says; “Now since you got a lot of money, you have thrown a good gal down”. Bessie Smith was born on April 15, 1894 in Chattanooga, Tennessee, United States and died on September 26, 1937 (aged 43) at Clarksdale, Mississippi, United States. She was a Songsmith, soloist and actress.
/> “Erlkoning” is a song performed by Franz Schubert and appears in the compilation The Life and Works of Franz Schubert (2004). It is based on the poem Erlkoning which was written by the German writer and politician; Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the year 1782. The poem talks of a boy who was killed by a supernatural being. Though Franz Schubert setting is the best known, others like Corona Schröter (1782), Andreas Romberg (1793), Johann Friedrich Reichardt (1794) and Carl Friedrich Zelter (1797)19th century by Václav Tomášek (1815), Carl Loewe (1818) and Ludwig Spohr (1856, with obbligato violin). A 21st century pianist Marc-André Hamelin based on "Erlkönig".
The two compositions are similar in that they have similar stylistic devices such as rhyme, they both talk of a person who is left by another though one is through death and the other is a relationship breakup. The two songs have a similar solo and instrumental performance. They are different in setting as the song Lost Your Head Blues is a solo poem while the poem Erlkoning is a dialogue between the father and the son. The poem “Erlkoning” is well explained to have taken place at night while the time setting for “Lost Your Head Blues” is not clear.
The texts of the two songs are secular and both are in the first persona. The first song; Lost Your Head Blues narrates a story of a girl who is left by her lover after he gets money. It tells how she used to treat him right and stay put to him during the time of his poverty but when he got money, he leaves her.
The poem Erlkoning narrates a story of a boy who is attacked by a supernatural being when they are riding with his father, the boy tries to tell his father of the approaching danger, but the father keeps assuring him that everything will be alright. The boy complains of the imminent danger that comes so near but the father is reluctant and the “Alder King” eventually takes the child’s life.
The two songs have a regular rhythm. The beats are duple and persuasive. The child insist to the father of the danger of the Alder King while the lady in the Lost your head blues reminds her lover of what they have been through and now he is leaving her without a goodbye.
The songs are structured in a verse version. There is a lot of repetition in both cases and they are used for emphasis and clarity. Both have a regular rhyme pattern. They have a good diction which makes them clear and understandable without a multiplication of meanings. The writer of Erlkoning has used short forms of words in order to retain the required number of syllables in a line to maintain the rhyme.
The song Erlkoning is representative of its era by use of old English words like thou. It is also a sang poem which is well visible by the language use and stylistic devices in its adaptation. The song lost your head blues is a typical blues song as seen in the use of words and syllables to fit the length of a line. The two songs stand out from the rest of their genre and era with their great composition, performance and message. The two songs are great pieces of art that have a strong message and teachings fit for the whole society.