The Diegetic Music of Berg’s Lulu

I am happy to announce that the Journal of Musicological Research has published my very first peer-reviewed research article, entitled “The Diegetic Music of Berg’s Lulu: When Opera and Serialism Collide,” in their January 2016 issue. Please visit my research page to view the complete citation information.

Alban Berg set his only serialist opera, Lulu, in the tumultuous and often noisy present of interwar Europe. During several scenes, Berg uses diegetic techniques to supply his characters with music that is appropriate to the depicted location. To accommodate such episodes, Berg must reinterpret popular genres within the opera’s twelve-tone context while preserving enough of the styles to render them familiar to the listener. The diegetic music of Lulu therefore exposes an artistic conflict between Berg’s compositional autonomy and his dramaturgical commitment to the realistic musical representation of a non-serialist world.

Having first arrived at this topic as a student in one of his graduate seminars, I am indebted to Eric Chafe at Brandeis University for having introduced me to the world of Alban Berg as well as for having encouraged me to submit this article for publication. Additional thanks go to Lisa Zeidenberg at Brandeis University and to the staff of the Lewis Music Library at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Permission to reproduce a portion of the opera’s vocal score was secured through an arrangement with the European American Music Distributors Company.