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  Partner: UNT Libraries
 Degree Discipline: Composition
 Degree Level: Doctoral
“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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Transfantasies for Flauto Traverso, Computer Music, and Dance

Transfantasies for Flauto Traverso, Computer Music, and Dance

Date: May 2013
Creator: Fick, Jason
Description: TransFantasies is an interdisciplinary composition for Baroque flute (flauto traverso), computer music, and dance. A crucial component of the work is an interactive hardware and software environment that provides the opportunity for the players to shape aspects of the work during the performance. This essay discusses the influences that inspired the work and presents an in-depth analysis of notable elements of the composition. Primary issues include compositional models for gesture-based composition, historical performance practices, interactivity, and relationships between music and dance. The final component of the essay details the software component designed to create the composition. It also discusses music technology in current practice and its role in this particular work. At its core, TransFantasies is concerned with those moments where computer-influenced decisions and human behaviors collide.
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Fidget, Sway, and Swerve: Three Works Inspired By Movement From the Intricate Maneuvers Series

Fidget, Sway, and Swerve: Three Works Inspired By Movement From the Intricate Maneuvers Series

Date: December 2012
Creator: Summar, Sarah Page
Description: Intricate Maneuvers is a series of musical works that were composed using movement as a model for compositional processes and forms. This essay presents in-depth analyses of three works from the series; Fidget, Sway: The Mildest Form of Falling, and Swerve for Chamber Ensemble. The analysis of each work highlights correlations between the musical characteristics of that work and the temporal, spatial, contextual, and psychological implications of the motion after which it was modeled. The third chapter also demonstrates the ways in which the creation of Sway was influenced by materials and processes taken from Ruth Crawford's String Quartet 1931. In order to investigate the question of how life experiences can function as models for compositional processes, the essay examines precedents for the compositional modeling of extra-musical ideas and images in the works of Bed?ich Smetana, Elliott Carter and Roger Reynolds. It also discusses approaches to modeling movement in music created for dance. Throughout the Intricate Maneuvers series, movement is modeled not merely to create an association between a musical work and a particular movement pattern, but rather to infuse the compositions with the dynamism that defines a particular kinetic experience.
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Ocean of Forms: for Soprano and Computer

Ocean of Forms: for Soprano and Computer

Date: May 2012
Creator: Price, Lee Scott
Description: Ocean of Forms is a cycle of five songs for solo soprano voice and electronic/computer music accompaniment on poems by noted Bengali poet, musician, philosopher, and author Rabindranath Tagore. This work approaches the song cycle as a vehicle for expressing and highlighting the poet's words. Word and syllabic stress, text painting, melodic development, and formal structure all function in relation to the text and its meaning. the replacement of the traditional piano accompaniment with electronic accompaniment provides further possibilities for new timbral structures and transformations, expressive microtonal intonation, algorithmic and aleatoric formal structures, acousmatic and spatialized sound, and a broad sonic palette. This work strives to provide a more fully developed expression of the text as afforded by these expanded musical means. the critical essay primarily explores the interaction between text and music in the work. the first chapter explores the historical precedents for the genre of the song cycle and other texted music as well as specific influences on the work. the following chapters explore the connections between the text and the vocal line and electronic/computer music, respectively. the final chapter deals with the formal structure of the work, especially the justly-tuned harmonic scheme and its relation to the ...
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Relent: a Composition for Alto Saxophone, Double Bass, Two Percussion, and Interactive Electronics

Relent: a Composition for Alto Saxophone, Double Bass, Two Percussion, and Interactive Electronics

Date: May 2012
Creator: Johansen, Benjamin David
Description: relent is a sacred work within the genre of interactive electronic music. the 20-minute composition is a multi-movement piece for four instrumentalists (saxophone, double bass, and two percussion) and computer that is inspired by the gospel message. relent is specifically about the gospel message that Christ died for man’s sins, rose from the dead, and through faith in him man can be reconciled to God. This project was an experiment in creating a work with a programmatic extramusical structure. in preparation for writing a piece based on Christian programmatic content, this paper presents an overview of research conducted on the intersection between art and Christianity referencing authors such as Harold Best, Nikolai Berdyaev, Hans Rookmaaker, Calvin Seerveld, Daniel Seidell, A. W. Tozer, Steve Turner, and Cornelius Van Til. This work was an experiment in trying to make very direct and specific musical ties to the narrative of the Gospel. Another highly experimental aspect of relent was in the way interactive electronics were used. Each acoustic instrument in the work has its own input and module within the Max patch, extending each acoustic instrument rather than adding an electronic accompaniment component. Additionally, non-traditional notation, both codified and real-time computer generated, improvisation, ...
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Galileo's Eyeglass: An Orchestral Work Celebrating the Discovery of the Moons of Jupiter and the Rings of Saturn

Galileo's Eyeglass: An Orchestral Work Celebrating the Discovery of the Moons of Jupiter and the Rings of Saturn

Date: August 2011
Creator: Walls, Jay Alan
Description: Galileo's Eyeglass is a celebratory work for full orchestra with standard instrumentation commemorating Galileo Galilei's discoveries of the four largest moons of Jupiter and the rings of Saturn in 1610. The composition is approximately 14 minutes in duration, and although divided thematically into four parts, the music is continuous. The work exhibits primarily a blend of contemporary styles and compositional elements, yet it is rooted in traditional tonality; furthermore, the piece is interspersed with references to Galileo's life and times, including quotations of a toccata composed by the scientist's brother, Michelangelo Galilei, transcribed from lute tablature. Chapter 1 of Part 1 investigates relevant historical threads extracted from the backdrop of Galileo's life, from reflections on the events that shape the musical program, to the selection and preparation of the period music composed by Galileo's brother. Chapter 2 discusses specific musical components of Galileo's Eyeglass, including form, musical quotations, motivic and thematic material, harmonic language, orchestration, and notation. Chapter 3 examines the principal philosophical themes behind the composition, including expressions of victory of a life well lived in spite of many obstacles. Part 2 contains the orchestral score.
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Dream of a Thousand Keys: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Dream of a Thousand Keys: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

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Date: May 2011
Creator: Choi, Da Jeong
Description: Dream of a Thousand Keys is a concerto for piano and orchestra, which consists of four movements presenting multiple dimensional meanings as suggested by the word "key." I trace the derivation of Korean traditional rhythmic cycles and numerical sequences, such as the Fibonacci series, that are used throughout the work, and explore the significant role of space between the soloist and piano that are emphasized in a theatrical aspect of the composition. The essay addresses the question of musical contrasts, similarities, and metamorphosis. Lastly, I cover terms and concepts of significant 21st-century compositional techniques that come into play in the analysis of this work.
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Aesthetic and Technical Analysis on Soar!

Aesthetic and Technical Analysis on Soar!

Date: August 2010
Creator: Wang, Hsiao-Lan
Description: Soar! is a musical composition written for wind ensemble and computer music. The total duration of the work is approximately 10 minutes. Flocking behavior of migratory birds serves as the most prominent influence on the imagery and local structure of the composition. The cyclical nature of the birds' journey inspires palindromic designs in the temporal domain. Aesthetically, Soar! portrays the fluid shapes of the flocks with numerous grains in the sounds. This effect is achieved by giving individual parts high degree of independence, especially in regards to rhythm. Technically, Soar! explores various interactions among instrumental lines in a wind ensemble, constructs overarching symmetrical structures, and integrates a large ensemble with computer music. The conductor acts as the leader at several improvisational moments in Soar! The use of conductor-initiated musical events in the piece can be traced back through the historic lineage of aleatoric compositions since the middle of the twentieth century. [Score is on p. 54-92.]
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Characterizing Noise and Harmonicity: The Structural Function of Contrasting Sonic Components in Electronic Composition

Characterizing Noise and Harmonicity: The Structural Function of Contrasting Sonic Components in Electronic Composition

Date: May 2010
Creator: Dribus, John Alexander
Description: This dissertation examines the role of noise in shaping the form of several recent musical compositions. This study demonstrates how the contrast of noisy sounds and harmonic sounds can impact the structure of compositions. Depending on context, however, the specific use and function of noise can vary substantially from one work to the next. The first portion of this paper describes methods for quantifying noise content using FFT analysis procedures. A number of tests on instrumental and synthetic sound sources are described in order to demonstrate how the analysis system may react to certain sounds. The second part of this document consists of several analyses of whole musical works. Works for acoustic instruments are examined first, followed by works for electronic media. During these analyses, it becomes clear that while the use of noise in each work is based largely upon context, some common patterns do exist across different works. The final portion of the paper examines an original work which was written with the function of noise specifically in mind. The original work is put through the same analysis procedures as works seen earlier in the paper, and some conclusions are drawn regarding both the possibilities and limitations of ...
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The Creative Process in Cross-Influential Composition

The Creative Process in Cross-Influential Composition

Date: May 2010
Creator: Anderson, Jonathan Douglas
Description: This dissertation describes a compositional model rooted in cross-influential methodology between complementary musical compositions that share generative source material. In their simultaneous construction, two composition pairs presented challenges that influenced and mediated the other's development with respect to timbre, transposition, pitch material, effects processing, and form. A working prototype first provides a model that is later developed. The first work Thema is for piano alone, and the companion piece Am3ht is for piano and live computer processing via the graphical programming environment Max/MSP. Compositional processes used in the prototype solidify the cross-influential model, demanding flexibility and a dialectic approach. Ideas set forth in the prototype are then explored through a second pair of compositions rooted in cross-influential methodology. The first work Lusmore is scored for solo contrabass and Max/MSP. The second composition Knockgrafton is scored for string orchestra. The flexibility of the cross-influential model is revealed more fully through a discussion of each work's musical development. The utility of the cross-influential compositional model is discussed, particularly within higher academia.
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