Performed by Luna Nova New Music Ensemble


Online Recordings
ACS Pierrot Ensemble 2003

Pierrot in History
Pierrot in Art


Pierrot Lunaire


In the Preface to the score Schoenberg provides the following instructions relative to Sprechstimme.

The melody given in the Sprechstimme by means for notes is not intended for singing (except for specially marked isolated exceptions). The task of the performer is to transform it into a speech-melody, taking into acount the given pitch. this is achieved by:

I. Maintaining the rhythm as accurately as if one were singing, i.e. with no more freedom than would be allowed with singing melody;

II. Becoming acutely aware of the difference between singing tone and speaking tone: singing tone unalterably stays on the pitch, whereas speaking tone gives the pitch but immediately leaves it again by falling or rising. However, the performer must be very careful not to adopt a singsong speech pattern. That is not intended at all. Nor should one strive for realistic, natural speech. On the contrary, the difference between ordinary speaking and speaking that contributes to a musical form should become quite obvious. but it must never be reminiscent of singing.

Moreover, I stress the following concerning performances:

It is never the task of performers to recreate the mood and character of the individual pieces on the basis of the meaning of the words, but rather solely on the basis of the music. the extent to which the tone-painting-like rendering of the events and emotions of the text was important to the author is already found in the music. where the performer finds it lacking, he should abstain from presenting something that was not intended by the author. He would not be adding, but rather detracting.