Das Nasobēm


Das Nasobēm - (2010)    

Christian Morgenstern

for medium or low voice and piano


Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
einher das Nasobēm,
von seinem Kind begleitet.
Es steht noch nicht im Brehm.
Es steht noch nicht im Meyer.
Und auch im Brockhaus nicht.
Es trat aus meiner Leyer
zum ersten Mal ans Licht.
Auf seinen Nasen schreitet
(wie schon gesagt) since then,
von seinem Kind begleitet,
einher das Nasobēm.

[ 3 pages, circa 2' 20" ]

Nasobema lyricum


Upon its noses strides
All about the Nasobēm,
Accompanied with its child.
It's not yet found in Brehm's Lives of Animals.
It's not yet found in Meyer's Lexicon,
Nor is it in the Brockhaus Encyclopedia.
It flowed out of my musings
As first it came to light.
Upon its noses strides
(As said before) since then,
Accompanied with its child,
And goes the Nasobēm.





Christian Morgenstern's Nasobēm (humorously termed Nasobema lyricum by those who pseudo-studied it) is an imaginary creature, far more timid than Lewis Carroll's Jabberwock and described as a dog-size animal that walked on four snouts, and was named in the poet's honor. Throughout the genre of science fiction and fantasy, all sorts of creatures have been imagined -- and most importantly, given names to render them somehow more real. Morgenstern's odd use of the vowel - ē - adds to the fictional quality of the creature. In my further private research I have found that the Nasobēm not only walks on its noses, but is a musical creature and creator of the Nasobēcedesocembalo, something between a canine hurdy-gurdy and a silk handkerchief, though sounding six octaves wider.


What might the sound of the Nasobēm call be? Morgenstern tells us by the inclusion of the word "seitdem" that the creature sprang from the name. Therefore its call must spring from something equally nosy. Fearsome to some, we know it to be a blustery mating call.



The setting concludes with a repetition of the creature's name, sung as a memory aid -- or perhaps hearing aid.



The score for Das Nasobēm is available as a free PDF download, though any major commercial performance or recording of the work is prohibited without prior arrangement with the composer. Click on the graphic below for this piano-vocal score.


Das Nasobēm