Noting Images: Understanding the Illustrated Manuscripts of Mendelssohn’s Schilflied and Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis

Daniel K. S. Walden

KEYWORDS: Visual, illustration, score, Mendelssohn, Hindemith, Romanticism, organicism, metaphor, Modernism, semiotics

ABSTRACT: Felix Mendelssohn and Paul Hindemith, composing about one hundred years apart, integrated visual elements, including drawings and illustrated notations, into musical manuscripts they designed as gifts for women they admired. The two documents, illustrating Mendelssohn’s Schilflied (1842) and Hindemith’s Ludus Tonalis (1942), are strong declarations of compositional and artistic ideology. This article examines the scores as reflecting, respectively, aspects of nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century conceptions of musical composition and form, and their relation to visual media.

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Received February 2010
Volume 16, Number 3, August 2010
Copyright © 2010 Society for Music Theory