Zhiyuan He

Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


School of Music

First Advisor

Charles Fugo


Slåtter, Norwegian Peasant Dances, Op. 72 is a composition for solo piano by Norwegian composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907). This set is one of his greatest contributions to piano literature, and shows his attempt to bring the traditional folk music to the rest of the world. The object of this study is to aid musicians toward a better understanding of Slåtter through a stylistic analysis of the work. The study includes historical information about the composer and his connection with nationalism in Northern Europe, and conveys how Slåtter can be considered a culminating work representing traditional Norwegian style characteristics.

The document includes a detailed biography of Grieg and a discussion of the musical language and compositional traits in Slåtter. It also analyzes and describes the influence of other Norwegian musicians and nationalism, including discussion of traditional dances, folk tales, and poems, on Grieg’s musical style. The poems and folk tales that appear in the score are mostly from Norwegian folk literature originating from ancient times. The pieces in Slåtter can be categorized into four types of Norwegian dances: springar, halling, gangar, and bruremarsj (wedding march). This study analyzes eleven pieces in this set, including examples of all four traditional dances. The analysis of Slåtter provides information on thematic and motivic material, harmony, rhythm, and other aspects of the style, including wide dynamic contrast and treatment of ornamentation.