Hope in Gustav Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder

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It will be shown that Mahler’s 'Kindertotenlieder', despite its title, express hope. Although there is a battle going on between themes of light and darkness, throughout the whole song cycle, in the end it is always something connected to light, which ends each of the five songs. Furthermore, these positive endings find their counterpart in the musical endings of the singing parts, namely ending in major with the exception of the first song which ends in minor and the third song ending in a chord without a third. This also shows that there is a progression towards major endings, from the first to the fifth song, which might also resemble the real grief process. As Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder express hope and, as it may even be rational for a sad person to listen to these songs, other pieces of music could be examined to see whether they serve the same rational function, although they do not appear to do so.


Keywords: Hope, Mahler, Kindertotenlieder, Emotion, Rationality
Stream: Analysing Artforms
Presentation Type: Virtual Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.


Dr. Marion Ledwig

Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy, University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Marion Ledwig is Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. She has studied psychology and philosophy at the University of Bielefeld, Germany, and received her Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Konstanz, Germany. Her main interests are emotion theory, decision theory, the philosophy of Thomas Reid, causation theory, and art theory. She is the author of Reid’s Philosophy of Psychology (2005), Emotions: Their Rationality and Consistency (2006), and Common Sense: Its History, Method, and Applicability (2007).

Ref: A07P0127