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 Degree Discipline: Musicology
 Degree Level: Master's
 Collection: UNT Theses and Dissertations
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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
Le Nuove Musiche: Giovanni Battista Bovicelli?

Le Nuove Musiche: Giovanni Battista Bovicelli?

Date: August 2010
Creator: Gámez Hernández, Carlos
Description: This thesis is a comparative study on the late 16th century manuals of ornamentation by Girolamo Dalla Casa, Giovanni Bassano, Riccardo Rognoni, and Giovanni Battista Bovicelli. The study demonstrates that the latest Renaissance manual should be given more credit for the innovative ornamentation style that was to come in the Early Baroque era. Bovicelli's use of sequence, dissonances, and less moving notes for more rhythmic varieties are features most often associated in the style of the Baroque. Unfortunately, the topic of ornamentation in the late Renaissance is most commonly discussed as a group of different entities writing in the same style. The research for this paper is intended to separate the manuals of the late Renaissance, focusing on the separate styles that led to the work of Giovanni Battista Bovicelli.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
"Being" a Stickist:  A Phenomenological Consideration of "Dwelling" in a Virtual Music Scene

"Being" a Stickist: A Phenomenological Consideration of "Dwelling" in a Virtual Music Scene

Date: May 2010
Creator: Hodges, Jeff
Description: Musical instruments are not static, unchanging objects. They are, instead, things that materially evolve in symmetry with human practices. Alterations to an instrument's design often attend to its ergonomic or expressive capacity, but sometimes an innovator causes an entirely new instrument to arise. One such instrument is the Chapman Stick. This instrument's history is closely intertwined with global currents that have evolved into virtual, online scenes. Virtuality obfuscates embodiment, but the Stick's world, like any instrument's, is optimally related in intercorporeal exchanges. Stickists circumvent real and virtual obstacles to engage the Stick world. Using an organology informed by the work of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, this study examines how the Chapman Stick, as a material "thing," speaks in and through a virtual, representational environment.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
The sixteenth-century basse de violon: fact or fiction? Identification of the bass violin (1535-1635).

The sixteenth-century basse de violon: fact or fiction? Identification of the bass violin (1535-1635).

Date: August 2009
Creator: Erodi, Gyongy Iren
Description: Research on the origins of the violoncello reveals considerable dispute concerning the existence and identity of its ancestor, the bass violin. This study focuses on the classification of the sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century bass violin by means of the following criteria: construction, early history and development, role due the social status of builders and players, use within the violin band, performing positions, and defining terminology. Accounts of inventories, organological treatises, music theoretical writings, lists of households and royal courts, descriptions of feasts, reports of choreographies and iconographical examples confirm the bass violin's presence in the late sixteenth century and beyond. Three of the earliest unchanged extant organological examples embody, complement and corroborate the bass violin's identification, and conclude the essay.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Singing Songs of Social Significance: Children's Music and Leftist Pedagogy in 1930s America

Singing Songs of Social Significance: Children's Music and Leftist Pedagogy in 1930s America

Date: December 2008
Creator: Haas, Benjamin D.
Description: In their shared goal of communicating left-wing principles to children through music, Marc Blitzstein's Worker's Kids of the World (1935), Aaron Copland's The Second Hurricane (1937), and Alex North's The Hither and Thither of Danny Dither (1941) exhibit a fundamental unity of purpose that binds them both to each other and to the extensive leftist pedagogical efforts of their time. By observing the parallel relationship among these three children's works and contemporary youth organizations, summer camps, and children's literature, their cultural objectives and stylistic idiosyncrasies emerge as expressions of a continuously evolving educational tradition. Whereas Worker's Kids comes out of the revolutionary Communist aesthetics of the Composers' Collective and the militant activism of The Young Pioneers, The Second Hurricane and Danny Dither reflect the increasingly accommodating educational efforts of the American Popular Front.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
Expanded Perceptions of Identity in Benjamin Britten's Nocturne, Op. 60

Expanded Perceptions of Identity in Benjamin Britten's Nocturne, Op. 60

Date: May 2008
Creator: Perkins, Anna Grace
Description: A concentrated reading of Benjamin Britten's Nocturne through details of the composer's biography can lead to new perspectives on the composer's identity. The method employed broadens current understandings of Britten's personality and its relationship to the music. After creating a context for this kind of work within Britten scholarship, each chapter explores a specific aspect of Britten's identity through the individual songs of the Nocturne. Chapter 2 focuses on how Britten used genres in a pastoral style to create his own British identity. Chapter 3 concentrates on the complex relationship between Britten's homosexuality and his pacifism. Chapter 4 aims to achieve a deeper understanding of Britten's idealization of innocence. The various aspects of Britten's personality are related to one another in the Conclusion.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
The "Gypsy" style as extramusical reference: A historical and stylistic reassessment of Liszt's Book I "Swiss" of Années de pèlerinage.

The "Gypsy" style as extramusical reference: A historical and stylistic reassessment of Liszt's Book I "Swiss" of Années de pèlerinage.

Date: May 2008
Creator: Tan, Sok-Hoon
Description: This study examines Liszt's use of the style hongrois in his Swiss book of Années de pèlerinage to reference certain sentiments he had experienced. The event that brought Liszt to Switzerland is discussed in Chapter 1 in order to establish an understanding of the personal difficulties facing Liszt during the period when the Swiss book took shape. Based on Jonathan Bellman's research of the style hongrois, Chapter 2 examines the Swiss pieces that exhibit musical gestures characteristic of this style. Bellman also introduced a second, metaphoric meaning of the style hongrois, which is discussed in Chapter 3 along with Liszt's accounts from his book Des Bohémien as well as the literary quotations that are included in the Swiss book. Together, the biographical facts, the accounts from Des Bohémien, and the literary quotations show that Liszt was using the style hongrois to substantiate the autobiographical significance of the Swiss book.
Contributing Partner: UNT Libraries
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