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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Schoenberg expended enormous energies on rethinking what sound could be and what it could mean in ways that anticipate and can be illuminated by sound studies. Focusing on Schoenberg’s understanding of the word Klang, this chapter explores the creative process and reception of Pierrot lunaire in the context of his writings on “sound,” one of the many possible translations of the term. Approaching Schoenberg’s music and his writings in Style and Idea and elsewhere from the vantage point of sound studies can attune us to his interests in destabilizing the boundaries not only between timbre, melody, and harmony, but also between music, sound, and noise, and between sound and our lived experience. The wide-ranging ramifications of his conception of Klang are evident in the ways that he engages with many aspects of music and its technologies and media while also going beyond specifically musical contexts to understand sound as a fundamental dimension of our thought and creativity, our experience, and our ways of relating with each other and our world.

Keywords: harmony, Klang, Klangfarbenmelodie, Pierrot lunaire, Arnold Schoenberg, sketch studies, sound studies, Style and Idea, timbre, technology

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