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 Degree Discipline: Music Theory
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Theorizing Atonality: Herbert Eimert’s and Jefim Golyscheff’s Contributions to Composing with Twelve Tones

Theorizing Atonality: Herbert Eimert’s and Jefim Golyscheff’s Contributions to Composing with Twelve Tones

Date: August 2014
Creator: Weaver, Jennifer L.
Description: In 1924, Herbert Eimert’s Atonale Musiklehre was the first published text to describe a systematic approach to composing atonal music. It contains significant contributions to the discourse on the early development of twelve-tone composition. While Eimert uses the term “atonal” to describe his compositional approach, his definition of atonality demands that all twelve tones be present with none repeated, and that they present as complexes not ordered rows. Eimert’s discussion of atonality differs from others of the same period because he focuses on vertical sonorities and introduces “interlocking complexes”, wherein two separate statements of the aggregate can overlap by one pitch or by a set of pitches. Interlocking complexes are an important feature of Eimert’s string quartet Fünf Stücke für Streichquartett, which was published in 1925 and composed at the same time as Atonale Musiklehre was written. In the foreword to Atonale Musiklehre, Eimert clarifies that he is not the originator of the concept of atonality, rather that he absorbed the ideas of Josef Matthias Hauer and Jefim Golyscheff. Twelve-tone complexes appear first in Golyscheff’s 1914 String Trio. He refers to them as “twelve-tone duration complexes” and labels them in the score. As the name “duration complexes” implies, there are ...
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Ligeti’s Early Experiments in Compositional Process: Simple Structures in Musica Ricercata

Ligeti’s Early Experiments in Compositional Process: Simple Structures in Musica Ricercata

Date: December 2014
Creator: Grantham, Daniel
Description: This study examines the formation of a unique chromatic and formal language in Musica Ricercata by György Ligeti. The study begins by examining statements from an interview with Ligeti conducted by Ove Nordwall in 1979. The interview discusses his compositional experiments from the early 1950s, the period in which Musica Ricercata was composed. Working from Ligeti’s words, “simple structures” are defined as repeating formations of rhythms and intervals with easily discernable features. These features must be salient such that when the structure is altered, it is still clearly and audibly recognizable. The musical and political environment in Hungary at the time is established, providing context for this early experimentation with compositional parameters. The analysis begins with an overview of the entire work, outlining developments of pitch-class density, symmetrical pitch-class structures, and notated accelerandi over the course of the multi-movement work. Analyses of simple structures in each movement elucidate both Ligeti’s experimental approaches to chromaticism, along with more traditional aspects, with special reference to Bartók’s compositional style.
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Thematic and Formal Narrative in Respighi’s Sinfonia Drammatica

Thematic and Formal Narrative in Respighi’s Sinfonia Drammatica

Date: May 2014
Creator: Amato, Alexander G.
Description: Respighi’s scarcely-known orchestral work Sinfonia Drammatica lives up to its title by evoking a narrative throughout the course of its three movements. In this dissertation, I argue how the work’s surface, subsurface, and formal elements suggest this narrative which emerges as a cycle of rising and falling dramatic tension. I explain how Respighi constructs the work’s narrative in the musical surface through a diverse body of themes that employ three motives of contour. The disposition and manipulation of these motives within the themes suggest frequent fluctuations of the level of conflict throughout the symphony as a whole. To show the involvement of musical forms in the work’s narrative, I employ an approach which integrates harmony and thematic behavior. I utilize analytical methods from the current Formenlehre, including terms from James Hepokoski and Warren Darcy’s sonata deformation theory and William Caplin’s theories of formal functions to elucidate ties between the forms of the Sinfonia Drammatica’s movements and those of conventional sonata forms of the late-eighteenth century. This dissertation also employs Heinrich Schenker’s theories of structures, voice leading, and reduction to illustrate large-scale aspects of the Sinfonia Drammatica’s narrative. The resulting analyses show Respighi’s elaborations of common structural paradigms which serve to ...
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Gualterio Armando's 34 Canciones Hispanoamericanas Para Canto Y Piano: a Comprehensive Edition and an Analytical Study of the Work’s Thematic Unity, Chromaticism, and Use of Musical Quotations

Gualterio Armando's 34 Canciones Hispanoamericanas Para Canto Y Piano: a Comprehensive Edition and an Analytical Study of the Work’s Thematic Unity, Chromaticism, and Use of Musical Quotations

Date: May 2014
Creator: Pérez Torres, René
Description: During the 1930s, German-born music critic and composer Gualterio Armando (1887-1973), formerly known as Walter Dahms, set to music thirty-four poems by some of the most important Hispano-American poets from the latter part of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century. In these songs, Armando tries to capture the spirit and idiosyncrasy of Hispano-American cultures while incorporating his own musical aesthetics. Armando’s 34 Canciones Hispanoamericanas para Canto y Piano (34 Hispano-American songs for voice and piano) display an original sound and style full of rhythms, shapes, colors, and textures found in the music of various Hispanic cultures. Nevertheless, the essence of these songs is deeply rooted in nineteenth-century German musical traditions. This eclecticism results in unique works that developed and evolved as reflections of their creator’s musical psyche. This dissertation presents an analytical study of selected songs from the 34 Canciones. The study focuses on three compositional aspects: unity within song cycles, chromaticism, and the use of pre-existing musical material. Since only one of the 34 Canciones has ever been published, this document also includes a complete edition of the thirty-four songs. Additionally, a significant part of the research incorporates a biographical sketch of the composer.
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Redeeming the Betrayer: Elgar’s Portrayal of Judas in the Apostles

Redeeming the Betrayer: Elgar’s Portrayal of Judas in the Apostles

Date: December 2013
Creator: Taycher, Ryan
Description: Despite its generally agreed importance, very little has been written about The Apostles. Even among the extant publications that address The Apostles, scholars have focused on its history and development, its reception, or analytical descriptions of its surface themes. The aim of this study will therefore be to provide neither a biography of Elgar, nor an account of the genesis of the work, but to analyze The Apostles in a manner that will achieve a deeper understanding of the oratorio. Chapter 1 explores the complexities that surround Judas and the different ways in which he was perceived throughout history. Then, through my analysis of the surface motives in Chapter 2 and their significance in relation to the large-scale harmonic structure in Chapter 3, I will suggest that Elgar does not denigrate Judas as the betrayer of Christ in The Apostles, but rather depicts him as a tragic yet crucial figure in achieving the redemption of mankind, and through this Judas himself is redeemed.
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Beethoven's Transcendence of the Additive Tendency in Opus 34, Opus 35, Werk ohne Opuszahl 80, and Opus 120

Beethoven's Transcendence of the Additive Tendency in Opus 34, Opus 35, Werk ohne Opuszahl 80, and Opus 120

Date: December 1989
Creator: Kramer, Ernest J. (Ernest Joachim)
Description: The internal unity of the themes in a sonata-allegro movement and the external unity of the movements in a sonata cycle are crucial elements of Beethoven's compositional aesthetic. Numerous theorists have explored these aspects in Beethoven's sonatas, symphonies, quartets, and concertos. Similar research into the independent variation sets for piano, excluding Opus 120, has been largely neglected as the result of three misconceptions: that the variation sets, many of which were based on popular melodies of Beethoven's time, are not as worthy of study as his other works; that the type of hidden internal relationships which pervade the sonata cycle are not relevant to the variation set since all variations are, by definition, related to the theme; and that variations were composed "additively," that is, one after another, without any particular regard for their order or relationship to one another. The purpose of this study is to refute all three of these incorrect assumptions. Beethoven was concerned with the order of variations and their relationship to one another, and he was able to transcend the additive tendency in a number of ways. Some of his methods included registral connection, registral expansion, rhythmic acceleration, textural expansion, dynamics, articulation, and motivic similarities. ...
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Deconstructing Webern's Op 25, Drei Lieder: a Multidimensional Assessment

Deconstructing Webern's Op 25, Drei Lieder: a Multidimensional Assessment

Date: August 2013
Creator: Morgeson, Paul Taylor
Description: Webern scholarship has not comprehensively examined op. 25, drei lieder. If the selection of text for op. 25 is viewed as one work in three movements they create a ternary form (A-B-A1). To show how this form is developed in the music the author creates a new analytical system based on Schoenberg's Grundgestalt which is defined by three basic ideas: symmetry, liquidation, and variation. The relationship between the voice and accompaniment and Webern's deliberate manipulation of the text is used to reveal the use of a program which is then tied to the numerical symbolism of 2 and 3.
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Harmonic and Contrapuntal Techniques in the Late Keyboard Works of Cesar Franck

Harmonic and Contrapuntal Techniques in the Late Keyboard Works of Cesar Franck

Date: May 1992
Creator: Cranford, Dennis R. (Dennis Ray)
Description: This study examines the five late keyboard works of Cesar Franck: the Prelude, Chorale, and Fugue and the Prelude. Aria, and Finale for piano, and the three organ chorales. The study focuses on harmonic and contrapuntal techniques and their interrelationships, placing the discussion in the context of an analysis of the whole piece. The primary goal is to identify the salient characteristics of each piece; a secondary goal is to identify common harmonic and contrapuntal aspects of Franck's style.
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Tonal Perspectives in the Selected Piano Preludes of Shostakovich (Op.34: nos.1, 3, 6, 14, and 24): an Analytical Study

Tonal Perspectives in the Selected Piano Preludes of Shostakovich (Op.34: nos.1, 3, 6, 14, and 24): an Analytical Study

Date: August 1994
Creator: Lee, Tze Fung Alfred
Description: This study is an investigation of tonal structures in selected preludes of Shostakovich's Op.34. Explanations and analytic perspectives provide support of tonality oriented interpretation for the compositions which often appear to be "atonal." Chapter One is divided into (1) historical perspectives of the prelude as form, and (2) Summary of Shostakovich's life and work. Chapter Two contains a historical background of (1) the development of Shostakovich's compositional styles, emphasizing his early style of piano composition, and (2) the impact of his "Lady Macbeth," the crisis and its influence on later works. Chapter Three deals with the problems of and analytical approaches in the study of the selected preludes.
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An Application of Grundgestalt Theory in the Late Chromatic Music of Chopin: a Study of his Last Three Polonaises

An Application of Grundgestalt Theory in the Late Chromatic Music of Chopin: a Study of his Last Three Polonaises

Date: December 1994
Creator: Spicer, Mark Joseph
Description: The late chromatic music of Chopin is often difficult to analyze, particularly with a system of Roman numerals. The study examines Schoenberg's Grundgestalt concept as a strategy for explaining Chopin's chromatic musical style. Two short Chopin works, Nocturne in E-flat major. Op. 9, No. 2, and Etude in E major, Op. 10, No. 3, serve as models in which the analytic method is formulated. Root analysis, in the manner of eighteenth-century theorist Simon Sechter, is utilized to facilitate harmonic analysis of chromatic passages. Based upon the analytic method developed, the study analyzes the last three polonaises of Chopin: Polonaise in F-sharp minor, Op. 44, Polonaise in A-flat major, Op. 53, and Polonaise-Fantasie in A-flat major, Op. 61. The Grundgestalt-based analysis shows harmonic, melodic and rhythmic connections in order to view Chopin's chromaticism and formal structure from a new perspective. With this approach, the chromaticism is viewed as essential to the larger form.
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