Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Musical Arts




Nolan, Catherine

2nd Supervisor

Hess, John



Austrian composer, Joseph Marx (1882-1964) is a significant figure in German Lieder in the first quarter of the twentieth century. Despite his contribution to the genre with 158 songs, the music of Marx remains largely unexplored in scholarly writings as well as concert programming.

The early twentieth century was a complex political, social, and musical climate that introduced multiple opposing views on musical composition. Despite being a contemporary to Arnold Schoenberg, Edgard Varèse, and Henry Cowell, Marx’s harmonic language remained within the bounds of tonality and never made use of the twelve-tone, atonal, or progressive elements used by the avant-garde. His music develops a unique and complex harmonic language that builds upon traditional harmony.

One of Marx’s largest sets of songs is his Italienisches Liederbuch. This monograph explores the complete set of seventeen songs as well as the poet, Paul Heyse (1830-1914) who was an important mediator of Italian poetry in Germany. Poetry analysis, text setting, harmonic language, form, and musical style are all elements that are explored as a song guide for singers and pianists interested in performing the work. The biography of the composer and poet as well as the detailed analysis of his complete Italienisches Liederbuch will serve as an indispensable resource for singers and pianists interested in learning the music of Joseph Marx.