Franz Schu­bert Die Forelle (The Trout)

Franz Schu­bert was in­spired to write The Trout Quin­tet while watch­ing fly fish­er­men on hol­i­day in ru­ral Aus­tria. Brid­get Mer­mikides reels in this great piece for you.

Guitar Techniques - - PLAY | CLASSICAL -

For this lat­est clas­si­cal guitar arrangement we re­turn to the work of one of the ‘greats’, the as­tound­ingly pro­lific Aus­trian com­poser Franz Schu­bert. By his un­timely death barely in his 30s, Schu­bert had com­posed over one and a half thou­sand works. These in­cluded 20 string quar­tets, seven sym­phonies, sev­eral masses and – per­haps his most en­dur­ing legacy - over 600 songs for pi­ano and voice. The work rate to achieve this (not to men­tion with beau­ti­ful pens­man­ship) beg­gars be­lief. In one year alone he com­posed over 20,000 bars of mu­sic (half of them for orches­tra). Dur­ing his short life­time, the gen­eral pub­lic and mu­sic com­mu­nity did not quite catch up with his bril­liance, ex­per­i­men­tal­ism and con­tri­bu­tion to Western Art Mu­sic, so sadly Schu­bert was only ap­pre­ci­ated by a tight group of friends and as­tute lis­ten­ers. Here I’ve se­lected one of Franz’s well-loved ‘lieder’, Die Forelle (cat­a­logue num­ber op.32 D550), com­posed in 1817 when he was barely in his 20s. A ‘lied’ is a long tra­di­tion of mu­si­cal set­ting of a poem, a craft in which Schu­bert is a widely recog­nised master. Here Schu­bert used the poem Die Forelle (The Trout) by the Ger­man poet and mu­si­cian Chris­tian Friedrich Daniel Schubart telling a story of a trout caught by a fish­er­man. The fi­nal verse re­veals it to be a moral story warn­ing young woman against the ad­vances of men, al­though this verse is of­ten dropped in per­for­mances and record­ings for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons. Com­po­si­tion­ally, the sim­ple melody is sup­ported by a flow­ing arpeg­gio pat­tern a mu­si­cal de­pic­tion of a swim­ming fish. The piece is in mod­i­fied strophic form, Strophic form is sim­ple a se­ries of verses with sim­i­lar mu­sic such as Amaz­ing Grace, Blowin’ In the Wind, Bridge Over Trou­bled Wa­ter. This piece fol­lows a sim­i­lar re­peated verse from (verse 1, bars 1-30; verse 2, bars 31- 58), but the third verse (from bar 59) is mod­i­fied - par­tic­u­larly har­mon­i­cally - de­pict­ing the capture of the trout.

Db

The orig­i­nal key of is dropped a semi­tone to C, and due to the fairly con­ven­tional har­mony (of the three pri­mary chords C, F and G, and the dom­i­nant of the G, D7), it is largely based around fa­mil­iar open-po­si­tion chord forms pro­vid­ing some fret­ting-hand re­lief. The fluid fig­ures in bars 29-30, re­quire fret­ting-hand slurs, but again the open po­si­tion­ing helps the tech­nique.

The most challenging sec­tion is in the mod­i­fied verse where the har­monic se­quence obliges the use of higher-po­si­tion barre chords, and some fret­ting-hand stamina. This sec­tion only oc­curs once but may take some time to ab­sorb tech­ni­cally. The tab cap­tions will help with such chal­lenges and en­able you to get to grips with this time­less piece. Fi­nally, make sure you use your guitar ‘tuna’ and prac­tice your ‘scales’. Doh!

NEXT MONTH How Can I Keep From Singing, by Robert Wadsworth Lowry

by his un­timely deat h bar ely in his 30s, schu­bert had com­posed over one and a half thousa nd works

Schu­bert ac­tu­ally hated the thought of the trout be­ing caught and landed

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