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 Degree Discipline: Musicology
Polyphonic Harmony in Three of Ferruccio Busoni’s Orchestral Elegies

Polyphonic Harmony in Three of Ferruccio Busoni’s Orchestral Elegies

Date: May 2015
Creator: Davis, Colin
Description: This dissertation focuses on three of Busoni’s late orchestral works known as “orchestral elegies”: Berceuse élégiaque (Elegie no. 1, 1909), Gesang vom Reigen der Geister (Elegie no. 4, 1915), and Sarabande (Elegie no. 5, 1918-19). The study seeks to provide a better understanding of Busoni’s late style as a crucial bridge from late nineteenth-century chromaticism in the works of Liszt, Wagner, and others to the post-tonal languages of the twentieth century. At the heart of this study lies a particular concept that forms the basis of many characteristic features of Busoni’s late style, namely the concept of polyphonic harmony, or harmony as a cumulative result of independent melodic lines. This concept is also related to a technique of orchestration in which the collective harmony is sounded in such a way that the individual voices are distinct. In the highly personal tonal language of Busoni’s late works, passages often consist of a web of motives weaved throughout the voices at the surface level of the music. Linear analysis provides a means of unravelling the dense fabric of voices and illustrating the underlying harmonic progressions, which most often consist of parallel, primarily semitonal, progressions of tertian sonorities. Chapter 1 provides a backdrop ...
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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.
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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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Spółka Nakładowa Młodych Kompozytorów Polskich (1905-1912) and the Myth of Young Poland in Music

Spółka Nakładowa Młodych Kompozytorów Polskich (1905-1912) and the Myth of Young Poland in Music

Date: December 1987
Creator: Hebda, Paul Thomas
Description: This study deals with the four-composer Polish musical association, Young Polish Composers' Publishing Company, which became commonly known as the group Poland in Music. Young Poland in Music is considered by Polish and non-Polish music historians to be the signal inaugurator of modernism in Polish music. However, despite this most important attribution, the past eighty-odd years have witnessed considerable confusion over the perceptions of: 1) exactly who constituted the publishing company, 2) why it was founded, 3) what the intentions of its members were, and 4) the general reception its members' music received. This paper addresses and resolves this multiple confusion. Chapter I presents an introductory survey of the political, socio/cultural, and musical developments of Poland between 1772 and c1900, the period of the Polish Partitions through the beginnings of the "Young Poland" era. Chapter II presents a discussion of the facts surrounding the founding of the publishing company, as well as a discussion of the eighty-odd years of historical misinterpretations that have developed about the composers' company and its relationship to "Young Poland in Music." Chapter III discusses the interpersonal relationships of the composers and other persons directly involved with them and their company, and the impact that these ...
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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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Dramatic Expression in Thirty Musical Settings of Goethe's "Der Erlkonig"

Dramatic Expression in Thirty Musical Settings of Goethe's "Der Erlkonig"

Date: May 1973
Creator: McDaniel, Mary Eileen
Description: This study is an investigation of the dramatic expression in thirty musical settings of Goethe's "Erlkonig," to attempt to determine why the works by Franz Schubert and Carl Loewe have achieved such popularity.
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Transcendentalism and Intertextuality in Charles Ives's War Songs of 1917

Transcendentalism and Intertextuality in Charles Ives's War Songs of 1917

Date: December 1998
Creator: Brandt, R. Lynne (Rebecca Lynne)
Description: This thesis examines a collection of three songs, "In Flanders Fields," "He Is There!," and "Tom Sails Away," written by Charles Ives in 1917, from primarily a literary perspective involving Transcendentalism and intertextuality. Ives's aesthetic builds upon the principles of Transcendentalism. I examine these songs using the principles outlined by the nineteenth-century Transcendentalists, and Ives's interpretations of these beliefs. Another characteristic of Ives's music is quotation. "Intertextuality" describes an interdependence of literary texts through quotation. I also examine these songs using the principles of intertextuality and Ives's uses of intertextual elements. Familiarity with the primary sources Ives quotes and the texts they suggest adds new meaning to his works. Transcendentalism and intertextuality create a greater understanding of Ives's conflicting views of the morality of war.
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Cadential Syntax and Mode in the Sixteenth-Century Motet: a Theory of Compositional Process and Structure from Gallus Dressler's Praecepta Musicae Poeticae

Cadential Syntax and Mode in the Sixteenth-Century Motet: a Theory of Compositional Process and Structure from Gallus Dressler's Praecepta Musicae Poeticae

Date: May 1996
Creator: Hamrick, David (David Russell)
Description: Though cadences have long been recognized as an aspect of modality, Gallus Dressler's treatise Praecepta musicae poeticae (1563) offers a new understanding of their relationship to mode and structure. Dressler's comments suggest that the cadences in the exordium and at articulations of the text are "principal" to the mode, shaping the tonal structure of the work. First, it is necessary to determine which cadences indicate which modes. A survey of sixteenth-century theorists uncovered a striking difference between Pietro Aron and his followers and many lesser-known theorists, including Dressier. The latter held that the repercussae of each mode were "principal cadences," contrary to Aron's expansive lists. Dressler's syntactical theory of cadence usage was tested by examining seventeen motets by Dressler and seventy-two motets by various early sixteenth-century composers. In approximately three-fourths of the motets in each group, cadences appeared on only two different pitches (with only infrequent exceptions) in their exordia and at text articulations. These pairs are the principal cadences of Dressler's list, and identify the mode of the motets. Observations and conclusions are offered regarding the ambiguities of individual modes, and the cadence-tone usage of individual composers.
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The Function of Oral Tradition in Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams

The Function of Oral Tradition in Mary Lou's Mass by Mary Lou Williams

Date: August 1996
Creator: Fledderus, France
Description: The musical and spiritual life of Mary Lou Williams (1910 - 1981) came together in her later years in the writing of Mary Lou's Mass. Being both Roman Catholic and a jazz pianist and composer, it was inevitable that Williams would be the first jazz composer to write a setting of the mass. The degree of success resulting from the combination of jazz and the traditional forms of Western art music has always been controversial. Because of Williams's personal faith and aesthetics of music, however, she had little choice but to attempt the union of jazz and liturgical worship. After a biography of Williams, discussed in the context of her musical aesthetics, this thesis investigates the elements of conventional mass settings and oral tradition found in Mary Lou's Mass.
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The Use of Jazz in Opera

The Use of Jazz in Opera

Date: December 1995
Creator: Ottervik, Jennifer
Description: Methods of incorporating jazz in opera range from using simple blue notes and fox-trot rhythms, to utilizing jazz instruments, to employing elaborate passages of improvisation. Current definitions of "jazz opera" do not consider variations in the genre, which, because of their evolving nature and the varied background of their composers, are diverse. This study attempts to collectively discuss these third-stream works. Jazz rhythms and harmonies first appeared in the 1920s in the works of Gershwin, Harling, Krenek, and Freeman. In 1966, Gunther Schuller was the first composer to use improvisation in an opera, which has become the primary distinguishing factor. There has since been a tremendous interest in this genre by such jazz musicians as Dave Burrell, Anthony Davis, Duke Ellington, Max Roach, Anthony Braxton, George Gruntz, and Jon Faddis.
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