Summary

The term «uncanny» derives from Sigmund Freud’s essay Das Unheimliche (The Uncanny) and refers to something frightening that «[...] leads back to what is known of old and long familiar» . The thing is at the same time very familiar and completely alien for observers or subjects, which renders the uncanny object disorienting, ambiguous, and paradoxical. The theory has also been applied to music with titles, composer’s commentaries, or programs that had those uncanny qualities discussed by Susanna Välimäki in Subject Strategies in Music (2005), -Richard Cohn in «Uncanny resemblances: Tonal signification in the Freudian Age» (2004) and Carolyn Abbate in In Search of Opera (2001). This article discusses representations of «the Uncanny» in Edvard Grieg’s compositions with titles referring to trolls, through analysis of their main motifs, rhythmical patterns, and harmonic progressions, in the light of Välimäki’s list of the categories of the Uncanny in music, Cohn’s theory of «hexatonic poles» and Abbates theory of musica automata.

Keywords: The Uncanny, Freud, Välimäki, Cohn, Abbate, Edvard Grieg, troll, Peer Gynt