The Construction of Wozzeck
In composing an "atonal" score (the music is not in a particular key) and using leitmotifs (melodic and harmonic themes associated with specific characters and events), Berg followed both the operatic tradition established by Wagner and the musical school of Berg's teacher, Viennese master Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951). Berg studied counterpoint, theory, harmony, and composition with Schoenberg between 1904 and 1911. Schoenberg became something of a father figure to Berg (his junior by only eleven years), and although their relationship was at times somewhat difficult, they two remained friends until Berg's death in 1935. They exchanged frequent letters; this page from a 1920 letter outlines the harmonic construction of Wozzeck—which Berg would not complete for another two years.