Strauss opera Salome

Straussopera Salome

Thedevelopment of musical discourse in Salome opera has a certainharmonic mobility. Even if he was committed to the idea of tonalitypermanently, Richard Strauss used the polytonality at times and eventhe atonality for the purpose of expressiveness within limited parts.In Salome opera, Strauss performs a musical correspondence on thetopic in the descriptive programmatic spirit, by gradually pursuingthe action, and provoking temporal gaps at the sametime&nbspbeing&nbspsuggestive of the past and anticipating thefuture (Kennedy pg 22).

Inthe case of Richard Strauss, one of the processes of modeling thelanguage of music is symbolized by the internal feelings andexperiences by harmonic methods. The performance of musicincorporates three systems of a successful organization: the freeatonality, the post-romantic engorged chromatic tonality, and theclassic diatonic tonality. The systems get utilized for expressivefunctions, having a symbolic purpose. Consonant diatonic harmonynormally characterizes Jokaan the chromatic harmony composes severalrelationships between characters and several scenes, Salome beingpersonalized with her a whole desire, aspiration and anxiety (Puffettpg 28).

Fromharmonic perspective one can establish:

  1. Remote harmonic relationships. Comprising of the overall total plan, at the section’s level whereby results in the form

  2. Direct relationships comprising of diatonic harmony

Theclassic tonal and romantic category, were both framed by the remoteharmonic relationships. The small rising second modulation is anexample of harmonic remote relationship from post-romantic tonal.

Thelittle ascending 2nd modulation that is found in scene 1, the minordo #~, is an example of the remote harmonic relation that is from thepost-romantic tonal. The above mentioned moments, containing as pilesthe tonalities minor re and minor sharp do orchestral, save that theprevious anticipates the discourse of Narraboth, being during thesame time of the ambiguity of Salome motive and the latter informs ofquarrel of the soldier. The connection between the starting and theending of the two dialogue of the soldiers, particularly minor re,portray their attitude towards the Prophet, the encouragement theyget when talking about him, got through the modulation at decreasedquinte from a minor to a major tonality (Puffett pg 57). In scenefive, on the lines that match up to the character Salome’s melodicline (you so beautiful, Jokanaan). One meets in the harmonicarrangement a tonal route from the minor flat si~ and the major Do#. The relationships of remote harmonic get based on the diatonicharmony, however mostly on the remote modulations, small seconds, ontierce and the Triton.

Inthe direct relationships, the plagal and the authentic one create thediatonic harmony. In the scene 1, one can see the real relationshipsbetween the minor fa, and the minor fa V~, the melody which belongsto the person who says the lines&nbsp&quotas&nbsppale as thedeparted woman&quot. One meets with the real relationships in theharmony that goes together with the voice of Jokanaan (major flat MiI and major flat Mi V 7~) found in scene 2. Another class of thedirect relationships and among the chords with the effects ofcoloristic illustrative is that of chromatic harmony, containingmodulations, constant chromatic developments. A vital function in thedevelopment of chromatic is that of using the melodic notes (Puffettpg 49). For example, the strangeness of the moon is recommended byvague harmonies, both as the full membership and from chordsstructure’s point of view, due to the existence of the melodicnotes that get solved tardily.

Anunstable region from the tonal and harmonic point of view, withconstant chromatic evolutions, is found in scene 4. In beat one,there is unanimity overlapping of the chromatic totality, a moment ofsonorous, improved trough pedal and through the tierce chromaticcombinations. In scene 1, one finds the enharmonic, which forms areal relationship between the major DO#: V and major flat Mi: Itonalities. The melodic lines are those of the Narraboth’, “whichadmires the moon: it is very beautiful tonight”. For this cause,the second chord gets treated enharmonically, that is the Do# V ~flat Mi IV, signifying in a manner that is metaphoric, by the moon’spresence, and the ambiguity of Salome.

Theconnection between the text in scene five and harmony can get deducedat the height of some harmonically different moments, whereby thesuggestive lines get involved. What is amazing is the harmonicconnection at descendent tierce that is the Major sol ~ and major Mi,the creator emphasizing the contradiction between the unreal image ofSalome in the vision of Herod and the surprise generated when hearingthe yearning of the ignorant princes who believed that she ought tohave everything “what would you like to have Salome”?

Onecan note that the tierce harmonic connections are utilized for,illustrative, the descriptive reason for particular natural featuresof some characters. Additionally, one should remark the purposelyperformed difference by the use of the direct harmonic connections.Hence in the tierce modulation case, on can note a particularspecific in utilizing them for the purpose of description, the secondones show the feeling of the character, their psychology, and theirmystery. In Salome opera, Strauss also uses the chains that go beyondthe tonal system. Ne remarks the combinations that are the 7th chord,and the structures of harmonic from the tones, which are met in thesubsections and sections from the region. The areas of atonal arepresent, nevertheless the alert dynamic of the chromatic changes thepoints of markings of maximum depth: then incestuous desires ofHerod, the violence of Herodiada, and the delirium moments of Salome(Puffett pg 54). At the start of scene five, the artiste initiates inthe harmonic plan a descendant level by tones –re – do flat sol-flat la- flat si- flat fa-re- which indicates the stormy desire ofHerold for Salome, found in scene four part 155. A certain moment ofharmonic which shows Herodiada lack of self-control grows inparallelism of quintes, tierces, and tetrachords. The statement thataccompanies the melody of Herodiada is “This prophet is a drunkenman, I cannot stand his voice “.

InSalome opera, one meets structures- a distinctive overlapping that isthe pedals and achordiac layers. The uneven harmony of mib sound withoval tierce chords develops towards a deep chromatic region, wherethe total chromatic gets layered on figural and harmonic pedalstructures. An ascendant notes the discussion of Hebrews on religiondecreased pentachordial that is the re- mi- fa –sol- sol# thatoverlaps a chord in the minor(Strauss and Burton pg 94).Also, the pedal recommends beauty of Jokanaan in the vision of Salome“Oh! Jokanaan, you so beautiful, this is found in scene four.

Leitmotifcomes from a German term Leitmotiv, which means “leading motif”.This is a short musical phrase that is repeated that symbolize anidea, place or character. This phrase of music can be distinctharmony, melody or rhythm that assist a composer to tell a tale ofthe use of figurative meaning. Leitmotif use can be found in theclassical music like those of late 18th century, and Richard Wagneris known for utilizing this method I the 19th century. RichardStrauss normally employs the device in his work, and in the music ofSalome was not excepted. By the use of complex leitmotifs system,Strauss shows characters and themes throughout the opera (Gilliampg70).

TheSalome music comprises of a leitmotifs system or the short melodiesthat contain symbolic meanings. Some melodies get linked withindividuals like Jochanaan and Salome. And the rest are conceptualmeaning. The use of leitmotifs by Strauss is multifaceted, with boththe musical and symbolic form subject to transformation andambiguity. Some of the leitmotifs, particularly those linked withHerod, often change in symbolic and form meaning, hence, making itvain to pin them down t a particular meaning (Straussand Burton pg 126). Richard gave names for some leitmotifs, however, inconsistently, andthe rest of individuals have given different names. The namesnormally demonstrate the ambiguity of some of the leitmotifs. As forthe needed vocal range of the title character, it is not an ordinarycase: high Bis the highest note, it is not irregular to be sung bymezzo-soprano or soprano, whereas low Gb is the lowest note in therange of contralto, and it is below the range for a mezzo-soprano.

Forinstance, the labels of Gilman to be conceptual like fear, yearning,and anger, whereas Roese’ is more tangible. Concerning thesignificance leitmotif linked with Jochnaan, which is divided intotwo parts, Jochanaan was the name given to the first part, andProphecy was given to the second part, whereas Roese brands them inother way. Leitmotifs labels are regular. However, they do not havefinal authority there are several symbolic uses of the color ofmusic in the music of opera. For instance, there is a sound oftambourine whenever there is a reference to Salome dance (Gilliam pg108).

Salome’sharmony utilizes the extended chromaticism, tonal ambiguity, uncommonmodulations, tonality, polytonality, and a wide range of keys. Someof the main characters have keys connected with them, characters likeJochanaan and Salome, as do some of the main psychological themeslike death and desire. The Salome role and her vocal demands aresimilar to those of Turandot, Brunnhilde or Islode, this means theirrole need power, stamina and volume of a real dramatic soprano. Theregular themes of the four characters are the problem in casting anabsolute soprano that has a true dramatic voice together withmanaging to register like a young lady. In addition to the physicaland vocal demands, the character calls for gracefulness andnimbleness of a prima ballerina when acting the famous opera dance ofthe seven veils.

Richardwrote the libretto of opera, in the process he cut part of theWilde’s play, strip it down and insisted its main dramaticstructure (Youmans pg 93). Strauss libretto structural form ispatterned highly, in the utilization of proportion ad thehierarchical grouping of passages, happenings, and part in three.Examples of the tree section structure consist of the attempt ofSalome to seduce Narraboth, so as to get him to letting her seeJochanaan. Three times she attempts to seduce him, and on the thirdtime he capitulates. When Jochanaan is taken before Salome, he givesthree prophecies, and then Salome admits her&nbsplove&nbspforJochanaan for three times- love for his lips, his hair and his skin,the last of which it leads Salome getting cursed by Jochanaan. In thepreceding scene, Herod asks Salome three times to be with him- tosit, eat, and drink with him. Each time she refuses. Afterward, Herodrequests her from three times she dances for him. For two times, shedeclines, but Herod promises her to give her anything she needs inreturn and then she agrees (Puffett pg 187). After dancing she tellsHerod that she need the head of Jochanaan on a platter, and Herod wasnot wishing to kill the prophet, he makes three offers- a peacock, anemerald, and lastly, out of desperation, the sanctuary of the HolyHollies veil. Salome refuses the three offers, and she insisted shewanted the head of Jochanaan.

Inthe last scene of opera, after Jochanaan getting kissed at theforehead by Salome, the music gets to a dramatic height, whichfinishes with a tempo entailing a discordant unconventional chord onegauge before 361 rehearsals. This particular chord has been hugelycommented on. It has been referred to as “the sickening chord inevery opera, an epoch-making discord where Richard takes Salome…tothe intensity of dilapidation” and “the decadence quintessence:here ecstasy is diminishing upon itself, collapsing into the abyss”.This chord get illustrated as polytonal, with a dominant 7th chord(low A7) fused with a high F-sharp main chord. It creates part oftempo in the C-sharp major chord and get approached and determinedfrom major chords of C-sharp. The chord is not only dissonant,particularly in its context of music and rich orchestration, but ithas bigger importance due in part to careful utilization ofleitmotifs and keys by Strauss to signify the characters of opera,emotions like horror, lust, revulsion, lust, death, and doom (Puffettpg 207). A huge deal has been noted down about this particular chordand its purpose in the large-scale formal structure of the wholeopera.


InSalome opera, the discourse development of musical has an importantharmonic mobility. Nevertheless, Richard Strauss got committedpermanently to the idea of tonality, by the use of polytonality andalso from the elaborated harmonic evaluation, music which isromantic, whose procedural development amazes one from balancedmoments to unrelenting culminations, absolute expressionist cries(Kennedy pg 121).


Gilliam,B. R.&nbspRichardStrauss and His World.Princeton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 1992. Print.

Kennedy,M.&nbspRichardStrauss: Man, Musician, Enigma.Cambridge, UK: Cambridge UP, 1999. Print.

Puffett,D.&nbspRichardStrauss, Salome.Cambridge [England: Cambridge UP, 1989. Print.

Strauss,R. and Burton D. F.&nbspRichardStrauss`s Salome.Coral Gables, Fla.: Opera Journeys Pub., 2002. Print.

Youmans,C. D.&nbspTheCambridge Companion to Richard Strauss.Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2010. Print.