How many times to you suppose you have heard Traumerei? Dozens and dozens of times, no doubt, for, although Schumann wrote it as a little piano piece, it has been arranged for every kind of an instrument. But of all the times that you have heard it, how many times have you listened to it?
What does the name mean? Just what the piece seems to be—a sort of meditation, calm and soothing—a beautiful melody with a harmonic accompaniment. The melody has many curves, that is, it moves up and down a great deal, and does not go far without changing direction.
How many changes of direction can you find the first four measures? Where is the climax? What key is the piece written in? It is quadruple time, frequently called “common time.”
Sometimes this piece is combined with another one in a minor key, a little livelier, and then the Traumerei part played again, making it “three-part song-form.” Sometimes the contrasting part is not used. Play this piece or have some one play it for you, and find five other details about it.
Schumann lived in Germany from 1810 to 1856 and wrote many wonderful pieces of music. What are some of his most famous compositions? Look him up in your musical dictionary.
Enjoy Vladimir Horowitz performing Schumann's "Traumerei":
THE ETUDE MUSIC MAGAZINE – July 1922