World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article


Article Id: WHEBN0022797075
Reproduction Date:

Title: Musikdrama  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Richard Wagner, List of operas by Richard Strauss, Comédie mêlée d'ariettes, Zeitoper, Azione teatrale
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


Musikdrama is a German word that means a unity of prose and music. Initially coined by Theodor Mundt in 1833, it was most notably used by Richard Wagner, along with gesamtkunstwerk, to define his operas.


Theodor Mundt (1808–1861), who coined musikdrama was a German critic and novelist. He was a member of the Young Germany group of German writers.

Mundt formulated his definition explicitly in contrast to intermezzo, or a piece that sits in between dramatic entities. To this day, musikdrama is associated with the works of Richard Wagner where poetry, music and stage performances were not to arbitrarily combined. Wagner himself composed the music and libretto and was a consultant on the stage design and choreography. This all-encompassing art, or gesamtkunstwerk, called on the diegesis of musikdrama in order to further the immersive feel.

Wagner himself resisted calling his works musikdrama. which would imply a drama "meant for music," like a libretto. Instead he wanted to put music at the service of the drama, which indeed in its original ancient form was inseparable from music. Nevertheless, the term music drama has become accepted. A major characteristic of musikdrama is its formal unity, without interruptions or smaller closed forms such as arias or duets. Recurring leitmotifs provide support and interpretation of the text, which progresses as in a spoken drama.


  • Riemann Musiklexikon, Mainz 1967, Sachteil, p. 605.
  • Richard Wagner, "Über die Benennung Musikdrama", in: Wagner, R., Gesammelte Schriften und Dichtungen, Leipzig: Siegel 1907, vol. 9, pp. 303 & 306
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.