Erlkonig and lost your head blues essay

General information

“ Erkoning” was initially a poem that was written by the renowned Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. The initial composition was included in the Singspiel of 1782. Franz Schubert, who lived between 1797 to 1828, then made a rendition of the poem being a composer and made the poem widely known. He employed the use of piano and a voice. “ Lost Your Head Blues” was composed by Bessie Smith in 1926 and it received a lot of listeners as she was a celebrated blues artist. Bessie in her career life as a singer was known for his multi-racial fan base.

Singing Style

“ Lost Your Head Blues” includes Fletcher on the piano and Smith with the trumpet. It is a classic blue style which can still be considered as a stage-style blues. Vocal technique and the nature of dialogue-like are evident in the performance. The trumpet and the voice seem to work together in delivering music with African roots. “ Erlkonig” by Schubert has been tackled by a piano and a solo voice. The four characters are represented by a single vocalist who places each character, mainly the son, Erlkonig, the father and the horse on varying vocal ranges and rhythmic nuances.


“ Erlkonig” depicts a child’s death who is assailed by a supernatural being. The child is on the back of a horse as he is being carried home at night by his father. The son tells of hearing and seeing things which the father does not. The child then shrieks of being attacked and to the surprise of the father, the son is already dead. “ Lost Your Head Blues” seems to shed light on too much thoughts and worries about the future. It attempts to convince the listeners to stop worrying about the future and enjoy the present life. Though she knows she should do this, she has complicated decisions to make before making a firm position.


In both songs instruments play a big role in setting the tempo of the song. “ Erlkonig” song uses piano at the opening of the song. This is effective because it captures the attention of the listeners who are drawn to the beasts from the piano before the singers begins to sing. Without the piano the song is plain and not captivating. “ Lost Your Head Blues” has employed both the cornet and piano. The cornet plays the fills in the song. The piano major significance is to deliver the required rhythmic and harmonic background to the song.


“ Erlkonig” was set in the ancient times when people still believed in the existence of supernatural beings. In the song is a young boy who claims to have seen an Elfking that has a tail and a crown. This clearly shows the song is inspired by the occurrences of the ancient era. This song contributed immensely to western civilization as it made people to denounce their traditional believes in the existence of supernatural being. “ Lost Your Head Blues” belongs to the blues genre of the old days. What makes the song stand out is the fact that its theme is typical to its genre. The song contributes to the western civilization in that it empowers the society to denounce the retrogressive chauvinism that had characterized the society. In the song the singer laments the ill treatment by her spouse but she vows to move on.

Works Cited

Kamien, Roger. Music: an appreciation. 6th brief ed., student ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill Higher Education, 2008. Print.