Motif 11: Kundry's Laughter

German name: Kundrymotiv

Soundbytes Kundry's Laughter (Martha Mödl; ogg format)
Musical example: Motif 11 - Kundry's Laughter

Appropriately for Kundry "the Devil's bride", Wagner characterises her by the tritone, the "diabolus in musica" (which in the Ring was associated with Hagen). Occurrences in the example are shown in red. The descending runs in this theme can suggest diabolical laughter, but on its first appearance, they seem to be suggesting Kundry sliding from her horse, reeling, almost collapsing from exhaustion. The complete theme ends with a development of the Yearning motif (A).

Musical example: germ cell of motif #8 derived from motif #7

For Lorenz it was obvious that this motif had been developed from the lowest voice of the Riding motif (#7), specifically the descending cello phrase in bars 204 and 205, 3rd and 4th beats. With a change of rhythm and extending the arpeggio downwards, it becomes the 6-note germ cell from which Kundry's Laughter develops in its various forms.

References: von Wolzogen ex.7, Lorenz p.22, Kufferath p.235 ex.11 "Kundry the demon", Lavignac p.447 "Kundry", Newman ex.12, ENO ex. 36 and 52a, Bauer pp.69-72.

© Derrick Everett 1996-2019. This page last updated (adjusted the size of 2 graphics) --- Mon 6 May 2019 18:30 CET ---