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 Degree Discipline: Musicology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
Michael Nyman: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Michael Nyman: The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat

Date: May 2008
Creator: Avant-Rossi, Joan
Description: Composer Michael Nyman wrote the one-act, minimalist opera The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, based off the neurological case study written by Oliver Sacks under the same title. The opera is about a professional singer and professor whom suffers from visual agnosia. In chapter 1, the plot and history of the opera are discussed. Chapter 2 places The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat alongside a selection of minimalist operas from Philip Glass and John Adams. Chapter 3 contains a history of the Fluxus art movement and shows where Fluxus-like examples appear in the opera. Chapter 4 includes Nyman's usage of minimalism, vocal congruencies, and Robert Schumann as musical elements that convey the drama.
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Beyond the Human Voice: Francis Poulenc's Psychological Drama La Voix humaine (1958)

Beyond the Human Voice: Francis Poulenc's Psychological Drama La Voix humaine (1958)

Date: May 2000
Creator: Beard, Cynthia C.
Description: Francis Poulenc's one-character opera La Voix humaine (1958), a setting of the homonymous play by Jean Cocteau, explores the psychological complexities of an unnamed woman as she experiences the end of a romantic relationship. During the forty-minute work, she sings in a declamatory manner into a telephone, which serves as a sign of the unrevealed man at the other end. Poulenc uses musical motives to underscore the woman's changing emotional states as she recalls her past relationship. The musical dramaturgy in this work resignifies Debussy's impressionist symbolism by collapsing devices used in Pelléas et Mélisande in a language that shifts between octatonicism, chromaticism, harmonic and melodic whole tone passages, and diatonicism. This late work recontextualizes elements in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-56), and the end of the opera provides a theme for his Sonate pour Clarinet et Piano(1962), as Poulenc reflects on his youthful encounters with Cocteau, Erik Satie, and Les Six.
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Opera at the Threshold of a Revolution: Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-1956)

Opera at the Threshold of a Revolution: Francis Poulenc’s Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-1956)

Date: December 2011
Creator: Beard, Cynthia C.
Description: Francis Poulenc’s three-act opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-1956) depicts the struggles of the novice nun Blanche de la Force during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. The use of Latin liturgical music at critical points in the opera conveys the ritualistic nature of Catholic worship. The spiritual message of mystical substitution, along with the closely related notion of vicarious suffering, imbue the opera with a spirituality that offers a sharp contrast to earlier operatic settings of Catholic texts, particularly during the age of grand opera. Marian devotion also plays an important role in the opera. The final tableau of the opera stages the execution of Blanche and her sisters, complete with the sound of a guillotine, with the nuns singing the Salve Regina as they proceed to the scaffold. The multivalence of the final tableau highlights the importance of voice and its absence. While the nuns, onstage spectators, and the guillotine are audibly present in the scene, the priest participates solely through gesture. The surfacing of the Lacanian Real in the silent moment of traumatic shock that follows the guillotine’s first fall allows for intertextual references to the opera in Poulenc’s Sonate pour Flûte et Piano (1957) to ...
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Mus. Ms. 1511b: A Historical Review of a Lute Manuscript in the Herwarth Collection at the Bavarian Library, Munich

Mus. Ms. 1511b: A Historical Review of a Lute Manuscript in the Herwarth Collection at the Bavarian Library, Munich

Date: August 2007
Creator: Beasley, Douglas William
Description: The purpose of this paper is to create a modern transcription/edition and an historical study of Munich Mus. Ms. 1511b thereby helping to define the social and pedagogical ramifications of lute repertoire from the mid-sixteenth-century. Because of the amateurish nature of the compositions, the conclusion of this study is that a member of the Herwarth family probably used the manuscript for learning purposes. Dance, grounds and other related forms found in the manuscript are discussed. Also included is an incipit concordance that can be used as a cross-reference for further research.
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Belle Musique and Fin' Amour: Thibaut de Champagne, Gace Brulé, and an Aristocratic Trouvére Tradition

Belle Musique and Fin' Amour: Thibaut de Champagne, Gace Brulé, and an Aristocratic Trouvére Tradition

Date: December 2008
Creator: Bly, Emily
Description: Many consider Gace Brulé (c1160-c1213) and Thibaut IV, Count of Champagne, (1201-1253) to have been the greatest trouvères. Writers on this subject have not adequately examined this assumption, having focused their energies on such issues as tracking melodic variants of individual works as preserved in different song-books (or chansonniers), the interpretation of rhythm in performance, and creation of modern editions of these songs. This thesis examines the esteem enjoyed by Gace and Thibaut in both medieval and modern times which derives from their exemplarity of, rather than difference from their noble contemporaries.
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"Marvelous Accidents": The Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra of John Cage

"Marvelous Accidents": The Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra of John Cage

Date: December 1999
Creator: Boutwell, Brett N.
Description: John Cage’s Concerto for Prepared Piano and Chamber Orchestra (1950-51) holds a unique position within the composer’s oeuvre as the first work based in part on chance-derived compositional procedures. Cage entered into such practice gradually, incrementally abandoning subjective taste and personal expression through the course of the work. Drawing from the philosophical framework provided by Cage’s "Lecture on Nothing" (1950) and "Lecture on Something" (c. 1951-52), this thesis explores the aesthetic foundations of the concerto and examines Cage’s compositional methodology throughout its three movements. Special attention is paid to the procedure underlying the first movement, whose analysis is based largely on the composer’s manuscript materials for the work.
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“Sounds for Adventurous Listeners”: Willis Conover, the Voice of America, and the International Reception of Avant-garde Jazz in the 1960S

“Sounds for Adventurous Listeners”: Willis Conover, the Voice of America, and the International Reception of Avant-garde Jazz in the 1960S

Date: August 2012
Creator: Breckenridge, Mark A.
Description: In “Sounds for Adventurous Listeners,” I argue that Conover’s role in the dissemination of jazz through the Music USA Jazz Hour was more influential on an educational level than what literature on Conover currently provides. Chapter 2 begins with an examination of current studies regarding the role of jazz in Cold War diplomacy, the sociopolitical implications of avant-garde jazz and race, the convergence of fandom and propaganda, the promoter as facilitator of musical trends, and the influence of international radio during the Cold War. In chapter 3 I introduce the Friends of Music USA Newsletter and explain its function as a record of overseas jazz reception and a document that cohered a global network of fans. I then focus on avant-garde debates of the 1960s and discuss Conover’s role overseas and in the United States. Chapter 4 engages social purpose and jazz criticism in the 1960s. I discuss Conover’s philosophy on social responsibility, and how his contributions intersected with other relevant discourses on race on the eve of the civil rights movement. I argue that Conover embodied two personas: one as jazz critic and promoter in the United States, and the other as an international intermediary. In chapter 5 I ...
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The Waning of Victorian Imperialism: Stylistic Dualism in Gustav Holst's One-Act Opera Sāvitri (1908-9)

The Waning of Victorian Imperialism: Stylistic Dualism in Gustav Holst's One-Act Opera Sāvitri (1908-9)

Date: May 2005
Creator: Broughton, Joseph Earl
Description: Gustav Holst's one-act opera Sāvitri (1908-9) represents a turning point in his compositional style, which came at a significant time in British history. Holst combines a simpler style informed by his work with English folksong with the Wagnerian style that permeated his earlier compositions. Although influenced by a British imperialist view of the world, Sāvitri renders Hindu-Indian culture in positive terms without relying on the purely exotic, offers a perspective on gender relationships that does not depend solely on convention, and presents the commoner as the British ideal rather than romanticizing the aristocracy. The result is an opera subtle in its complexity, approaching the profound themes of love, death, and spirituality with emotional restraint and self-control.
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Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith's Cynthia Parker

Accessibility and Authenticity in Julia Smith's Cynthia Parker

Date: December 2007
Creator: Buehner, Katie R.
Description: In 1939, composer Julia Smith's first opera Cynthia Parker dramatized the story of a Texas legend. Smith manipulated music, text, and visual images to make the opera accessible for the audience in accordance with compositional and institutional practices in American opera of the 1930s. Transparent musical themes and common Native Americans stereotypes are used to define characters. Folk music is presented as diegetic, creating a sense of authenticity that places the audience into the opera's Western setting. The opera is codified for the audience using popular idioms, resulting in initial but not lasting success.
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Finding the "Indian" in Amy Beach's Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, op. 80.

Finding the "Indian" in Amy Beach's Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, op. 80.

Date: December 2007
Creator: Burgess, Stephanie J.
Description: Music that is categorized as part of the Indianist movement in American music (ca. 1890-1925) typically evokes Native American culture, ritual, story, or song through compositional gestures. It may also incorporate Native American tunes. Amy Beach (1867-1944) is considered to have composed five Indianist works, but her Theme and Variations for Flute and String Quartet, op. 80 has not been included as one of them. This thesis rethinks categorization of the piece, seeking the "Indian" in it through examination of its gestures, instrumentation, and relationship to contemporary Indianist compositions.
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