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Die stille Lotosblume Steigt aus dem blauen See, Die Bltter flimmern und blitzen, Der Kelch

ist wei wie Schnee. Da giet der Mond vom Himmel All seinen goldnen Schein, Giet alle seine Strahlen In ihren Scho hinein. Im Wasser um die Blume Kreiset ein weier Schwan, Er singt so s, so leise Und schaut die Blume an. Er singt so s, so leise Und will im Singen vergehn. O Blume, weie Blume, Kannst du das Lied verstehn?
Emanuel von Geibel

The quiet lotus flower Ascends from blue waters; Her leaves shimmer and glisten, Her chalice is white as snow. From the sky above the moon Pours forth its golden glow, Pours all its radiance Into her bosom. In the water around her A white swan circles, Sings so sweetly, so softly Gazing at the flower. Sings so sweetly, so softly Near perishing in his singing. O flower, white flower, Do you understand this song?

Clara Schumanns Die stille Lotosblume is a very motivically cohesive piece. The most pervasive motive, the unfolding of a third, can be seen at both the middleground and the background levels. After the Kopfton is established in m. 3 it unfolds up to E by means of a 10 10 linear intervallic pattern. It then descends to 2 , which itself unfolds up a third to D. There is a deeper background third descent for the Kopfton to A flat. After reaching A flat scale degree 2 reestablishes itself. This process is repeated in m. 11-18. The only difference is that that descent to 2 the second time is a background descent. In mm. 18-20 scale degree 2 unfolds down to E flat by means of appregiation. This downward appregiation is decorated by upper and lower neighbors. This decorated appregiation is the second important motive. Mm. 22-28 function in similar fashion to the opening, ascending thirds against a background of a descending unfolding third. In m. 29 the Kopfton reestablishes itself as flat 3 and is prolong through m. 32. In these measures the piano has the primary melodic interest and unfolds upward by means of a decorated appregiation. This unfolding is embellished with neighbor tones much like the appregiation in mm. 18-20. In the background of mm. 29-34 there is an upward unfolding of a third from C flat to E Flat. It is interesting to note that in the C flat portion of the piece both important motives are inverted. The remainder of the piece, mm. 35-47, prolongs scale degree two. Measures 35-38 contain the decorated appregiation. Scale degree two become flat 2 in measure 39 and is then prolonged by a 5 5 LIP. In the final measures, 43-47 the decorated appregiation is once again heard. There is no final tonic to the piece and it is possible for the listener to hear the final descent to 1 in his or her head. The piece itself has no PACs, or even IACs, anywhere and therefore never rests and is constantly propelled forward. The opening 2 bars and the final 2 bars are identical, this and the lack of PACs give the Lied a cyclical feeling. The lack of a final PAC works well with the text. The swan asks, Can you understand my song? He gets no reply and so we get no answer in the music.