Its not just for Lieder anymore!
Text painting came from Germany!
German composer Franz Schubert used text painting in a piece called "Die Erlkonig." He used the piano to represent a horse. Each character had high or low parts to sound like their voices. When the Elf King rides by the father and son, the horse goes away because he is not riding, he is floating.
Schubert - Erlkönig, D.328, Op.1 (with lyrics)