Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Rachel Joselson


The Kalevala, first published in 1835 by Elias Lönnrot, is the Finnish national epic and was fundamental in formalizing the Finnish language. It is a collection of stories Lönnrot collected over many years, pieced together to create a coherent epic. The stories in the Kalevala stem from an oral tradition, in which singing and music was integral. The stories in the epic contain many different characters, with Väinämöinen and his quest in to find a wife at the forefront. Other major characters discussed include Kullervo, Lemminkäinen, and Luonnotar.

Extensive research exists about the history of the Kalevala itself, as well as its impact on music in Finland in the areas of pop music, symphonic music, choral music, and opera. However, little scholarship exists, regarding how the texts from the Kalevala have been incorporated into 19th and 20th century art song.

The lack of research about the Kalevala in art song is due partly to the fact that no catalogue of related songs exists. Also, works based on the Kalevala are hard to obtain, as many are only available in manuscript form, or are found only in the Finnish National Archives. This essay aims to bridge the research gap on art song inspired by the Kalevala, while evaluating the works available in the context of their incorporation of the folk singing tradition that would have been used in the early performance of these Kalevala texts. Songs analyzed include works by Gabriel Linsén, Emil Kauppi, Jean Sibelius, Otto Kotilainen, and Erkki Melartin.


Elias Lönnrot, Erkki Melartin, Finnish Art Song, Folk Singing, Kalevala, Rune Singing


xi, 117 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 113-117).


Copyright © 2017 Jessica Anne Saunders

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