Leitmotif: Definition & Examples


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What is a leitmotif?

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1. A musical scholar coined the term 'leitmotif' in 1871, to describe a recurring musical tag in a German opera. What was the title of that opera?

2. Name a piece of program music that uses a leitmotif in each of its five movements.

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About This Quiz & Worksheet

Test your ability to understand the use of leitmotifs in music. Quiz questions assess your knowledge of what a leitmotif is and the composer best known for the use of leitmotifs.

Quiz & Worksheet Goals

In these assessments, you'll be tested on the following:

  • The definition of leitmotif
  • The opera from 1871 that inspired the coinage of the term leitmotif
  • A piece of program music that uses a leitmotif in each of its five movements
  • The composer best known for use of leitmotifs
  • Description of how Richard Wagner uses leitmotifs in his opera Tristan und Isolde

Skills Practiced

This worksheet and quiz let you practice the following skills:

  • Reading comprehension- ensure that you draw the most important information from the related leitmotifs lesson
  • Information recall- access the knowledge you've gained regarding the use of leitmotifs in Richard Wagner's opera Tristan und Isolde
  • Knowledge application- use your knowledge to answer questions about famous pieces of music that feature leitmotifs

Additional Learning

To review concepts related to leitmotifs, read through the brief lesson on Leitmotifs in Music. This lesson will help you:

  • Identify what a leitmotif is
  • Understand the history of leitmotifs and understand when the term was first used in 1871
  • Review an example of the use of leitmotifs such as Hector Berlioz's Symphonie fantastiqe
  • Recall Richard Wagner's use of leitmotifs and his opera Tristan und Isolde
  • Explore some modern uses of the leitmotif