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 Resource Type: Thesis or Dissertation
 Degree Discipline: Composition
“Before I Die…”: Original Composition with a Critical Essay Exploring the Techniques of Six Crossover Composers

“Before I Die…”: Original Composition with a Critical Essay Exploring the Techniques of Six Crossover Composers

Date: August 2014
Creator: Trusko, Robert
Description: Candy Chang developed a public art installation where people are given the opportunity to write their answers to "Before I Die I want to ________." in a public space. I created one of these walls in Denton, TX and set it to music in a 12 minutes and 42 second piece titled Before I Die..., which combines elements of South Indian carnatic music, gospel, R&B, jazz fusion, and minimalism. The composition was influenced by the music of several crossover artists Becca Stevens, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Nico Muhly, Poovalur Sriji, Tigran Hamasyan, and James Blake. Crossover music, fusion, and third-stream are all synonymous terms used to describe music where multiple genres or styles are authentically combined. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the balance of musical elements in crossover works as well as how specific works composed by the artists mentioned have influenced the creation of the Before I Die... piece.
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Violetting Through August’s End (Or the Sunset in Water, the Carillon-chime in Square): an Original Chamber Opera and a Critical Essay on the Trajectory of American Minimalist Opera

Violetting Through August’s End (Or the Sunset in Water, the Carillon-chime in Square): an Original Chamber Opera and a Critical Essay on the Trajectory of American Minimalist Opera

Date: December 2014
Creator: Doyle, James Joseph
Description: When the dust settles, John Adams’s Nixon in China and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach may stand as the most important operas of the latter twentieth century. The critical essay portion of this thesis examines the trajectory of minimalist opera, from its beginnings with Glass’s Einstein on the Beach through the more romantic operas of John Adams, Steve Reich’s multimedia opera The Cave, David Lang’s musical-influenced The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, and finally the post-minimalist operas currently being staged by young composer Nico Muhly. It examines the differences between the more abstract trajectory established by the early Glass operas and the plot driven trajectory established by operas more commonly associated with John Adams, most significantly Nixon in China. Additionally, the aforementioned pieces are compared and contrasted with the author’s newly composed chamber opera Violetting through August’s End (or the sunset in water, the carillon-chime in square).
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“Sunken Monadnock”: a Composition for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Violoncello, Electric Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Three Female Vocalists, and Computer

“Sunken Monadnock”: a Composition for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Violoncello, Electric Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Three Female Vocalists, and Computer

Date: December 2013
Creator: Harris, Joshua Kimball
Description: Sunken Monadnock is a scripted combination of three modular musical surfaces. The word “surface” is borrowed from Morton Feldman, who compared the aural surface of music to the canvases of the action painters of the American Abstract Expressionists, and contrasted it with the work’s subject, or organizational structure. Composers’ transition toward a focus on surface through indeterminate compositional techniques, according to Feldman, parallels the development of modernist abstract art. “Sunken Monadnock: Composing with Visual Metaphors” is a companion critical essay that takes the surface/subject metaphor as a starting point for analyzing Sunken Monadnock.Other visual metaphors that inspired Sunken Monadnock, and are discussed in the essay, include Shakir Hassan Al Said’s mystical semiotics, Jasper Johns’s crosshatch prints, and Wassily Kandinsky’s theory of abstraction. The circle and spiral, especially, play influential roles in Sunken Monadnock as reflected by musical applications of repetition, rotation, compression/rarefaction, and endlessness. The void in the circle’s center also comes into play. The nature of the work’s formal counterpoint requires an innovative approach to the score, which consists of five sections, each of which reflects a different approach to the aural surface (i.e., to the traversal of time). The two outer sections are traditionally scored, but the three ...
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Mysterium Cosmographicum, for Orchestra, Narrator/Actor, and Computer Music on Tape

Mysterium Cosmographicum, for Orchestra, Narrator/Actor, and Computer Music on Tape

Date: December 1989
Creator: Keefe, Robert Michael
Description: Mysterium Cosmographicum is a musical chronicle of an astronomy treatise by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Kepler's Mysterium cosmographicum (Tubingen, 1596), or "Secret of the Universe," was a means by which he justified the existence of the six planets discovered during his lifetime. Kepler, through flawless a priori reasoning, goes to great lengths to explain that the reason there are six and only six planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) is because God had placed one of the five regular solids (tetrahedron, cube, octa-, dodeca-, and icosahedron) around each orbiting body. Needless to say, the publication was not very successful, nor did it gain much comment from Kepler's peers, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). But hidden within the Mysterium cosmographicum. almost like a new planet waiting to be discovered, is one of Kepler's three laws of planetary motion, a law that held true for planets discovered long after Kepler's life-time. Mysterium Cosmographicum is a monologue with music in three parts for orchestra, narrator/actor, and computer music on tape. All musical data structures ape generated via an interactive Pascal computer program that computes latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates For each of the nine planets as seen From ...
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Vox Organalis

Vox Organalis

Date: December 1989
Creator: Baczewski, Philip
Description: Vox Organalis is a concerto for organ and orchestra. It employs an ensemble comprising the compliment of wind, percussion, and string instruments normally available within a contemporary symphony orchestra with augmented brass and woodwind sections. It is intended to be performed with a large organ such as might be found in a symphony hall or large church. The work is in two movements, and its intended performance time is twenty-five minutes. Use of the concerto format within Vox organalis results in a new approach to organizing the interaction between the solo part and the orchestral accompaniment. The organ part is notated in traditional metered notation, but the orchestral notation is organized in units of clock time (seconds). The horizontal spatial arrangement of the orchestral notation corresponds to the timing of the metered organ part. Pitch organization in Vox Oraanalis is derived from a twelve-tone row based upon the natural harmonic series. Several techniques of serial composition were used to organize and select elements of the tone row for use in the construction of the work. Use of the tone row for horizontal and vertical pitch structures provides unity to the pitch organization of the work. Vox Organalis is constructed in ...
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Blueline Concerto: Critical Essay

Blueline Concerto: Critical Essay

Date: August 2013
Creator: Lamb, Christopher
Description: The purpose of this critical essay is two-fold. First, the essay presents a detailed critical analysis of my original composition, Blueline Concerto for bass trombone and wind ensemble. Second, using Blueline Concerto, the essay presents preliminary findings of my study to develop an approach to composing that takes into account the musicians' health, specifically regarding noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Through various hypothesized composition- and orchestral-based approaches, I test effectiveness on changes in NIHL risk while also noting that artistic merit and compositional integrity is preserved.
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Mobiles

Mobiles

Date: August 1997
Creator: Whitworth, Clifford K. (Clifford Kirk)
Description: Mobiles is a composition for an ensemble consisting of 12 instruments. The piece, in one movement, incorporates intuition, chance, and twelve tone techniques and reflects the relationship between motion and rest or tension and release. The structure is modeled according to principles of growth and decay, starting off slowly, building, and then dying away. Much of the material is inspired by mental images invoked from modern theories concerning chaos. Mobiles' character stems from the principal use of two motives, the chaos motif and the echo motif. Primarily, the chaos motif is representative of a state of motion while the echo motif represents a state of rest. Mobile architecture is usually characteristic of symmetry, balance, and proportion, but because of uncertainty in a natural environment, this proportion often falls short of a perfect symmetrical balance as in the case of a crystal or a fractal design. It is this kind of architecture that Mobiles portrays in its form and developmental process.
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Persistence: for Wind Ensemble

Persistence: for Wind Ensemble

Date: August 1997
Creator: Rickwood, Christopher M.
Description: Persistence is a composition scored for piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, English horn, 2 bassoons, E-flat clarinet, 3 1st B-flat clarinets, 3 2nd B-flat clarinets, 3 3rd B-flat clarinets, bass clarinet, 2 E-flat alto saxophones, B-flat tenor saxophone, E-flat baritone saxophone, 3 B-flat trumpets, 4 French horns in F, 2 trombones, bass trombone, baritone, tuba, timpani, and 4 auxiliary percussionists. The music consists of three movements, fast-slow-fast, lasting approximately eleven and one-half minutes. The three movements last three minutes and twenty seconds, five minutes and thirty seconds, and three minutes and ten seconds respectively.
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Matador

Matador

Date: May 1998
Creator: Patino, Julio
Description: Matador is an opera scored for orchestra, mixed chorus and soloists (mezzosoprano, 3 tenors, 2 baritones). The work is in one act divided into two main sections. Each of these sections is divided into subsections. The libretto is aphoristic in nature and dictates the form of each of these subsections. The division into two parts also serves as a means to evoke a sense of hopelessness of emotions in the first and a transforming disposition that culminates in a jubilant song in the second.
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A Wedding Ceremony: Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, Recessional

A Wedding Ceremony: Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, Recessional

Date: May 1998
Creator: Cieminski, Theresa
Description: A Wedding Ceremony is a composition of approximately 17 minutes in duration and is scored for horn in F, two trumpets in B-flat, trombone, two percussionists (timpani, roto toms, chimes, snare, triangle, suspended cymbal), 2-part boys choir, female soprano, and organ. The work consists of five parts of a mass, the Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, and Recessional, with texted sections being taken from the Latin mass. The work is intended for a sacred wedding service of any denomination. The work was composed with the traditional aspects of the Latin mass in combination with a contemporary setting.
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