Sheet Music: Schäfers Klagelied

TitleSchäfers Klagelied
Alternate titlesThe Shepherd's Lament
Opus numberOp. 3, No.1 / D.121
ComposerFranz Schubert (1797–1828)
InstrumentationFlute and Piano
KeyE minor
Time signature6/8
Tempo40 BPM
Performance time3:15
Difficulty levelintermediate
Download printable scorePDF Sheet Music (123 kB) (preview)
Download audio tracksMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (2.8 MB)
Play-along accompanimentMIDI (change tempo/key) MP3 (2.8 MB)
Date added2009-11-29
Last updated2009-11-29
Download popularity index☆☆☆☆☆ 0.8 (average)
Lieder, Romantic


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Sunday 29 November 2009

Tune of the Day: The Shepherd's Lament

“Schäfers Klagelied” by Franz Schubert

This musical setting of Goethe's poem “Schäfers Klagelied” (“Shepherd's Lament”) was the first publicly performed song by Schubert and it was, according to reports, a highly successful debut. Schubert scored Goethe's lament in a pastoral 6/8 in E minor; he often employed this tonal center to symbolize sadness, depression and nostalgia.

High up on that mountain,
I have stood a thousand times,
bowed over my staff
and gazing down into the valley.

“Schäfers Klagelied” is a shepherd’s lament of lost love. The music spontaneously illustrates the state of emotion and scenery the text describes: it is as though Schubert paints a musical artwork of the shepherd standing “high up on that mountain” in which the painting illustrates the vast array of emotions and the depth of meaning the topic implies.