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 Degree Discipline: Musicology
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
The Intimacy of Death: Mahler’s Dramatic Narration in Kindertotenlieder

The Intimacy of Death: Mahler’s Dramatic Narration in Kindertotenlieder

Date: May 2014
Creator: Strange, AnnaGrace
Description: There has been relatively little scholarship to date on Mahler’s Kindertotenlieder. The writings about this song cycle that do exist primarily focus on the disparate nature of the poems and justify Kindertotenlieder as a cycle by highlighting various musical connections between the songs, such as keys and motivic continuity. Mahler, however, has unified the cycle in a much more complex and sophisticated way. His familiarity with Wagner’s music and methods, and his mastery of the human voice and orchestral voices allowed him to weave a dramatic grief-laden narrative.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Educating American Audiences: Claire Reis and the Development of Modern Music Institutions, 1912-1930

Educating American Audiences: Claire Reis and the Development of Modern Music Institutions, 1912-1930

Date: August 2013
Creator: Freeman, Cole
Description: The creation of institutions devoted to promoting and supporting modern music in the United States during the 1920s made it possible for American composers to develop an identity distinct from that of European modernists. These institutions were thus a critical part of the process of modernization that began in the United States during the early decades of the twentieth century. There is substantial scholarship on these musical institutions of modern music, such as the International Composers’ Guild and the League of Composers; but little to no work has been done on the progressive musical institutions of the 1910s, such as the Music League of the People’s Music Institute of New York, which was founded by Claire Reis. This thesis addresses the questions of how and why American musical modernism came to be as it was in the 1920s through an examination of the various stages of Reis’s career. The first chapter is an extensive study of primary source material gathered from the League of Composers/ISCM Records collection at the New York Public Library, which relates to Reis’s work with the PML in the 1910s. The second chapter uses the conclusions of the first chapter to shine new light on an ...
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Repetition and Difference: Parodic Narration in Kander and Ebb's "The Scottsboro Boys"

Repetition and Difference: Parodic Narration in Kander and Ebb's "The Scottsboro Boys"

Date: August 2013
Creator: Wolski, Kristin Anne
Description: The American musical team John Kander and Fred Ebb created many celebrated works, yet musicologists have carried out little research on those works. This study examines the role of music in the parodic narration of Kander and Ebb's final collaboration, The Scottsboro Boys. Kander and Ebb use minstrelsy to tell the story of the historic Scottsboro Boys trials with actors portraying the Scottsboro Boys as minstrels; at the same time, they employ a number of devices to subvert minstrelsy stereotypes and thereby comment on racism. Drawing on African American literary theory, sociolinguistics, and Bakhtin's dialogism, this study illuminates how Signifyin(g), a rhetorical tradition used to encode messages in some African American communities, is the primary way the actors playing the Scottsboro Boys subvert through minstrelsy. This study not only contributes to the discussion of Signifyin(g) in African American musicals and theatre as a tool of subversion, but also provides an example of non-African American creators—Kander and Ebb—using Signifyin(g) devices. They use these in the music and the book; in particular, Kander and Ebb do some Signifyin(g) on Stephen Foster's plantation melodies.
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Don Gillis's Symphony No 5½: Music for the People

Don Gillis's Symphony No 5½: Music for the People

Date: May 2013
Creator: Morrison, Sean
Description: Don Gillis wrote Symphony No. 5½ (1947) in order to reconcile the American public with modern art music. By synthesizing jazz (as well as other American folk idioms), singable melodies, and humor, and then couching them into symphonic language, Gillis produced a work that lay listeners could process and enjoy. The piece was an immediate success and was played by orchestras across the globe, but it did not retain this popularity and it eventually faded from relevancy. This study focuses on elements that contributed to the initial efficacy and ultimate decline of the work. Due to its pervasive popular influences, Symphony No. 5½ is a crystallized representation of time in which it was written, and it soon became dated. Don Gillis did not harbor the idea that Symphony No. 5½ would grant him great wealth or musical immortality; he had a more pragmatic goal in mind. He used every musical element at his disposal to write a symphonic work that would communicate directly with the American people via a musical language they would understand. He was successful in this regard, but the dialogue ended soon after mid-century.
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It's Not Fusion: Hybridity in the Music of Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa

It's Not Fusion: Hybridity in the Music of Vijay Iyer and Rudresh Mahanthappa

Date: December 2012
Creator: Govind, Arathi
Description: This thesis concerns the performance of identity in the music of Indian American jazz musicians Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer. In combining the use of Indian classical music elements with jazz, Iyer and Mahanthappa create music that is inextricably tied to their multifaceted identities. Traditional musicological analysis is juxtaposed with a theoretical framework that draws on postcolonial theory and the history of Asian immigrant populations to the U.S. I chronicle the interactions between Indian and Western music and link it to larger issues of Asian American identity formation and activism through music. Through interviews and transcriptions of studio recordings, I identify specific compositional and improvisational strategies of the musicians. I emphasize the role of individual agency in the formation of second-generation identities, drawing attention to the distinct ways that Iyer and Mahanthappa approach their music. Finally, I connect this research to a larger discourse on Indian American artistic identity.
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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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Criticism of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony in London and Boston, 1819-1874: A Forum for Public Discussion of Musical Topics

Criticism of Beethoven's Pastoral Symphony in London and Boston, 1819-1874: A Forum for Public Discussion of Musical Topics

Date: December 2011
Creator: Cooper, Amy Nicole
Description: Critics who discuss Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony often write about aspects that run counter to their conception of what a symphony should be, such as this symphony’s static nature and its programmatic elements. In nineteenth-century Boston and London, criticism of the Pastoral Symphony reflects the opinions of a wide range of listeners, as critics variably adopted the views of the intellectual elite and general audience members. As a group, these critics acted as intermediaries between various realms of opinion regarding this piece. Their writing serves as a lens through which we can observe audiences’ acceptance of ideas common in contemporaneous musical thought, including the integrity of the artwork, the glorification of genius, and ideas about meaning in music.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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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Patronage, Connoisseurship and Antiquarianism in Georgian England: The Fitzwilliam Music Collection (1763-1815)

Patronage, Connoisseurship and Antiquarianism in Georgian England: The Fitzwilliam Music Collection (1763-1815)

Date: December 2011
Creator: Heiden, Mary Gifford
Description: In eighteenth-century Britain, many aristocrats studied music, participated as amateurs in musical clubs, and patronized London’s burgeoning concert life. Richard Fitzwilliam, Seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion and Thorncastle (1745-1816), was one such patron and amateur. Fitzwilliam shaped his activities – participation, patronage, and collecting – in a unique way that illustrates his specialized tastes and interests. While as an amateur musician he sang in the Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s Catch Club (the premiere social club dedicated to musical performance), he rose to the highest level of patronage by spearheading the Handel Commemoration Festival of 1784 and serving for many years as a Director of the Concert of Antient Music, the most prestigious concert series in Georgian Britain. His lasting legacy, however, was his bequest to Cambridge University of his extensive collection of art, books and music, as well as sufficient funds to establish the Fitzwilliam Museum. At the time of his death, Fitzwilliam’s collection of music was the best in the land, save that in the Royal Library. Thus, his collection is ideally suited for examination as proof of his activities, taste and connoisseurship. Moreover, the music in Fitzwilliam’s collection shows his participation in the contemporary musicological debate, evidenced by his ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Singing the Republic: Polychoral Culture at San Marco in Venice (1550-1615)

Singing the Republic: Polychoral Culture at San Marco in Venice (1550-1615)

Date: December 2010
Creator: Yoshioka, Masataka
Description: During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Venetian society and politics could be considered as a "polychoral culture." The imagination of the republic rested upon a shared set of social attitudes and beliefs. The political structure included several social groups that functioned as identifiable entities; republican ideologies construed them together as parts of a single harmonious whole. Venice furthermore employed notions of the republic to bolster political and religious independence, in particular from Rome. As is well known, music often contributes to the production and transmission of ideology, and polychoral music in Venice was no exception. Multi-choir music often accompanied religious and civic celebrations in the basilica of San Marco and elsewhere that emphasized the so-called "myth of Venice," the city's complex of religious beliefs and historical heritage. These myths were shared among Venetians and transformed through annual rituals into communal knowledge of the republic. Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and other Venetian composers wrote polychoral pieces that were structurally homologous with the imagination of the republic. Through its internal structures, polychoral music projected the local ideology of group harmony. Pieces used interaction among hierarchical choirs - their alternation in dialogue and repetition - as rhetorical means, first to create ...
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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