First Advisor

Dr. Jelena Simonović Schiff

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) in Music: Voice and University Honors






Atonality, Freud, Opera, Women


During the early 20th century, the rise of psychoanalysis impacted society by offering a revolutionary approach to the mind. This rise occurred due to the work of the work of Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), who believed many mental disorders were rooted in the subconscious. Psychoanalysis revolutionized how we approach the brain and offered a new perspective on patient treatment. Artists in the early 20th century also explored and insisted on new ways to view society through art. Schoenberg and Freud were both pioneers in their field of work, and Freud even inspired Schoenberg’s early atonal music. Freud may have instilled his thoughts on female hysteria in Schoenberg’s writing, influencing him to write Erwartung and Die Glückliche Hand through a psychoanalytical lens. This thesis explores the theatrical and compositional elements Schoenberg may have used during the creation of Erwartung and Die Glückliche Hand. Reviewing and analyzing the tactics Schoenberg employed uncovers how unconscious expression and conscious intervention impact the memorability of performances, particularly through motivic material.

Included in

Musicology Commons