Richard Wagner Music Analysis

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Music is the most universal of all languages. Without words it can break a strong man into tears, reduce a brave woman to terror, and turn the most high-strung to a state of peace. Unfortunately, the worth of music in today’s society tends to be decided by its perceived popularity, rather than its use of technique and emotion. This is one of the many reasons Richard Wagner tends to be underappreciated. Despite his masterful compositions and development of many imperative techniques, much of his music is listened to by few and appreciated by fewer. However, that does not diminish any of what he has done for the world of music, and the Romantic Era. Richard Wagner is the most influential composer of the Romantic Era for his use of leitmotiv, command of the orchestra, emotional expression in music, and contribution to the romantic notion of nationalism. The camera zooms in on the protagonist, surrounded by enemies. They’re fighting with everything they have, and despite the odds are succeeding. A few simple notes, and everyone in the movie theater knows the villain is about to enter the room - the stakes are higher than ever. This is an example of leitmotif, an important musical tactic that the modern Western world has Wagner to thank for. Leitmotif is a short theme associated with a specific character or situation. Wagner developed the technique, and used many of these in his operas (Fuller). This technique has become very popular in film, musical theater, and

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