Der Tod und das Mädchen (Death and the Maiden in
English), D.531; Op. 7, No. 3, is a lied composed by
Franz Schubert in February 1817. It was published by
Cappi und Diabelli in Vienna in November 1821. The text
is derived from a poem written by German poet Matthias
The piece begins with an introduction in D minor; the
first eight bars in the time signature 2/2. Both hands
play chords. The section is quiet (pianissimo) and slow
(mäßig), and presents the musical theme of Death.
The Maiden enters in the ninth bar on an anacrusis.
This section is more agitated than the first; it is
marked piano and "somewhat faster" (etwas geschwinder).
The melody gradually increases in pitch, chromatically
at points. The piano accompaniment is syncopated,
playing chords of quavers alternating in the left and
right hand. A diminished chord in the first bar of the
third line (ich bin noch jung) creates an eerie mood.
In the eighth bar of the maiden's song, on the word
rühre ("touch"), the quavers stop and the rhythm of the
opening section returns. Then an imperfect cadence
leads to a rest with fermata. This brings the second
section to a total of 13 bars in length.
The third and final section is Death's song. The music
returns to the tempo and dynamics of the introduction.
Death's melody has a narrow pitch range (save for the
very last note where the singer has the option of
dropping to D below the melody line). The key modulates
to F major, the relative major of D minor. With the
last syllable of Death's song, the key changes into D
major. The coda is almost a repeat of the introduction,
except it is shortened by one bar and is now in the
The story is summarized in the lyrics (in English):
The Maiden: Pass me by! Oh, pass me by! Go, fierce man
of bones! I am still young! Go, rather, And do not
touch me. And do not touch me.
Death: Give me your hand, you beautiful and tender
form! I am a friend, and come not to punish. Be of good
cheer! I am not fierce, Softly shall you sleep in my
Although originally composed for voice and piano, I
created this arrangement for Viola & Acoustic Piano.