Liszt: Totentanz

Liszt Totentanz

Melody
The DI theme is quoted and varied in 3 main ways.

  1. (Opening) Bars 17 to 22: Dies Irae is quoted in its original form omitting the last 4 notes.
  2. Variation III: Dies Irae is varied by playing each note twice and is quoted complete.
  3. Variation V: Dies Irae is varied by repeating each note of the theme four times. The phrase is answered by repeating theme with a tonal transposition up a major third.

Harmony
The DI theme is harmonized in 2 ways.

  1. (Opening) Bars 17 to 22 and Variation III: The DI theme in the bass is accompanied by chords in the home key (D minor).
  2. Variation V: The DI theme in the melody is not accompanied.

Texture
The DI theme occurs in both a homophonic and polyphonic texture.

  1. (Opening) Bars 17 to 22 and Variation III: The DI theme is played in the bass in chords of homophonic texture.
  2. Variation V: Variation V is a fugue in polyphonic texture.

Rhythm
 The rhythm of the DI theme is varied in 3 different ways.

  1. (Opening) Bars 17 to 22: The DI theme occurs in steady crotchets.
  2. Variation III: The DI theme is played in dotted quavers.
  3. Variation V: The DI theme is played in steady semi-quavers.

Form
Point: The DI theme is the theme in 6 variations.

  1. (Opening) Bars 17 to 22: The DI theme occurs in the opening.
  2. Variation III: The DI theme occurs in the 3rd variation of the piece.
  3. Variation V: The DI theme occurs in the 5th variation of the piece.
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