Sprechstimme in Arnold Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire

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2008 Finalist for an Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Excellence Award
This study offers a brief history of Sprechstimme and Pierrot lunaire, Schoenberg’s recordings of Pierrot, and the ambiguity inherent in the execution of Sprechstimme. The book also presents the substantial Pierrot discography and the range of interpretational styles heard in the recordings. The author provides a thorough discussion of Pierrot’s technical vocal requirements and how the sound recordings can assist in the interpretation and performance of the Sprechstimme.


“The importance of Soder’s approach lies in the complete context in which she presents the technique and performance of Sprechstimme, in her insight into the musical ramification of various interpretations of Sprechstimme in an array of recorded performances of Pierrot, in her ability to summarize and convey what Schoenberg wanted regarding Sprechstimme in this work, and, especially, in her ability to explain how to achieve it.” – Dr. Walter B. Bailey, Chair of Musicology, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University

“This book is a valuable tool for any singer/reciter who plans to perform Schoenberg’s monumental work. The author considers a range of issues that every performer of this masterpiece encounters, and her astute observations provide a number of interesting solutions for the presentation of Sprechstimme in Schoenberg’s most enigmatic work.” – Professor Lorraine C. Gorrell, Conservatory of Music, Winthrop University

“Dr. Soder’s manuscript is a thoughtful and well-documented piece of scholarship that addresses the difficulties and ambiguities of Sprechstimme performance from the point of view of the performer. ... Her research will receive broad attention within modern performance practice circles and will certainly open a new avenue of investigation in the continuing discussion of Sprechstimme performance and analysis.” – Dr. Michael Rosewall, Associate Professor of Music Theory and History, St. Norbert College

Table of Contents

Preface by Walter B. Bailey
1 Sprechstimme in Pierrot lunaire: Schoenberg’s New Voice
2 Pierrot Performances: Early Interpreters and the First Recording
3 Sprechstimme Performance Styles: An Overview
4 Discography Overview
5 Five Unique Pierrots
6 The Beginning of a Tradition
Appendix – Pierrot lunaire Discography

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