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 Degree Discipline: Music Theory
An Analytical Study of Paradox and Structural Dualism in the Music of Ludwig van Beethoven

An Analytical Study of Paradox and Structural Dualism in the Music of Ludwig van Beethoven

Date: May 2016
Creator: Graf, Benjamin Stewart
Description: Beethoven's rich compositional language evokes unique problems that have fueled scholarly dialogue for many years. My analyses focus on two types of paradoxes as central compositional problems in some of Beethoven's symphonic pieces and piano sonatas. My readings of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 27 (Op. 90), Symphony No. 4 (Op. 60), and Symphony No. 8 (Op. 93) explore the nature and significance of paradoxical unresolved six-four chords and their impact on tonal structure. I consider formal-tonal paradoxes in Beethoven's Tempest Sonata (Op. 31, No. 2), Ninth Symphony (Op. 125), and Overture die Weihe des Hauses (Op. 124). Movements that evoke formal-tonal paradoxes retain the structural framework of a paradigmatic interrupted structure, but contain unique voice-leading features that superimpose an undivided structure on top of the "residual" interrupted structure. Carl Schachter's observations about "genuine double meaning" and his arguments about the interplay between design and tonal structure in "Either/Or" establish the foundation for my analytical approach to paradox. Timothy Jackson's reading of Brahms' "Immer leiser word meine Schlummer" (Op. 105, No. 2) and Stephen Slottow's "Von einem Kunstler: Shapes in the Clouds" both clarify the methodology employed here. My interpretation of paradox involves more than just a slight contradiction between two ...
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Musical and Dramatic Functions of Loops and Loop Breakers in Philip Glass's Opera "The Voyage"

Musical and Dramatic Functions of Loops and Loop Breakers in Philip Glass's Opera "The Voyage"

Date: May 2016
Creator: Wu, Chia-Ying
Description: Philip Glass's minimalist opera The Voyage commemorates the 500th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. In the opera, Philip Glass, like other composers, expresses singers' and non-singers' words and activities by means of melodies, rhythms, chords, textures, timbres, and dynamics. In addition to these traditional musical expressions, successions of reiterating materials (RMs, two or more iterations of materials) and non reiterating materials (NRMs) become new musical expressions. However, dividing materials into theses two categories only distinguishes NRMs from RMs without exploring relations among them in successions. For instance, a listener cannot perceive the functional relations between a partial iteration of the RM and the NRM following the partial RM because both the partial RM and the NRM are NRMs. As a result, a listener hears a succession of NRM followed by another NRM. When an analyst relabels the partial RM as partial loop, and the NRM following the partial RM as loop breaker, a listener hears the NRM as a loop breaker causing a partial loop. The musical functions of loops and loop breakers concern a listener's expectations of the creation, sustaining, departure, and return to the norm in successions of loops and loop breakers. When a listener associates ...
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Form in Popular Song, 1990-2009

Form in Popular Song, 1990-2009

Date: December 2015
Creator: Ensign, Jeffrey S.
Description: Through an examination of 402 songs that charted in the top 20 of the Billboard year-end charts between the years 1990 and 2009, this dissertation builds upon previous research in form of popular song by addressing the following questions: 1) How might formal sections be identified through melody, harmony, rhythm, instrumentation, and text? 2) How do these sections function and relate to one another and to the song as a whole? 3) How do these sections, and the resulting formal structures, relate to what has been described by previous theorists as normative? 4) What new norms and trends can be observed in popular song forms since 1990? Although many popular songs since 1990 do follow well-established forms, some songwriters and producers change and vary these forms. AAA strophic form, AABA form, Verse-Chorus form, Verse-Chorus with Prechorus and/or Postchorus sections, Verse-Chorus-Bridge form, “Other, with a Chorus” and “Other, without a Chorus” forms are addressed. An increasing number of the songs in each of the above listed forms are based on a repeating harmonic progression or no harmonic progression at all. In such songs, the traditional method of identifying sections and section-functions through harmonic analysis is less useful as an analytical tool, ...
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The Musical Language of Alberto Ginastera’s Panambí and the Influence of Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre Du Printemps

The Musical Language of Alberto Ginastera’s Panambí and the Influence of Claude Debussy’s La Mer and Igor Stravinsky’s Le Sacre Du Printemps

Date: December 2015
Creator: Lovern, Kenneth R.
Description: Alberto Ginastera completed his ballet Panambí in 1937. The ballet was arranged as a symphonic suite, and was performed the same year at the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires, conducted by Juan José Castro. Panambí marked the beginning of Alberto Ginastera’s long and successful career as an Argentine composer. Chapter I of this document provides a brief introduction into the history behind Alberto Ginastera’s Panambí suite, and includes a review of the research that is exclusively devoted to the suite, as well as documents that do not provide direct analyses of Panambí, but contain information that aid in a better understanding of the suite’s composition. Chapter II includes analyses of the suite that illustrate important elements that contribute to the structure and sound of the Panambí suite. These components include Ginastera’s construction of the La Noche theme found in the first movement and its use as a master set, his use of diatonic collections and pitch centricity, the importance of unordered pitch class intervals IC1 and IC6, his use of aggregate completion as a compositional method, and his use of local motives over larger spans of temporal space. Chapter III explores the possibility that many of these compositional methods are ...
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Václav Philomathes’ Musicorum Libri Quattuor (1512): Translation, Commentary, and Contextualization

Václav Philomathes’ Musicorum Libri Quattuor (1512): Translation, Commentary, and Contextualization

Date: December 2015
Creator: Iler, Devin
Description: The Czech-born music theorist, Václav Philomathes, wrote the Musicorum libri quattuor in 1512 while attending the University of Vienna. This didactic treatise became one of the most widely published theory treatise of its time with 26 copies of five editions remaining today and covers the topics of Gregorian chant practice, Solmization, Mensural Notation, Choir Practice and Conducting, and Four-voice Counterpoint. Of particular note, is the section on choir practice and conducting, of which there is no equivalent prior example extant today. This dissertation provides a Latin-English translation of Philomathes’s work, as well as produces a critical commentary and comparison of the five editions while positioning the editions within the context of the musico-theoretical background of early-to-mid-16th century scholarship in Central Europe.
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Formal Organization in Ground-bass Compositions

Formal Organization in Ground-bass Compositions

Date: August 2015
Creator: Stevens, Bryan
Description: This thesis examines formal organization in ground-bass works. While it is true that many or even most works of the ground-bass repertoire are variation sets over a ground, there also exist many ground-bass works that are not in variation form. The primary goal of this thesis is to elucidate the various ways in which such non-variation formal organizations may be achieved. The first chapter of this work discusses the general properties of ground basses and various ways that individual phrases may be placed in relation to the statements of the ground. The second chapter considers phrases groupings, phrase rhythm, and the larger formal organizations that result. The third chapter concludes this study with complete analyses of Purcell’s “When I am laid in earth” from Dido and Aeneas and Delanade’s “Jerusalem, convertere ad dominum Deum tuum” from his setting of the Leçons de ténèbres.
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A Seventeenth-century Musiklehrbuch in Context: Heinrich Baryphonus and Heinrich Grimm’s Pleiades Musicae

A Seventeenth-century Musiklehrbuch in Context: Heinrich Baryphonus and Heinrich Grimm’s Pleiades Musicae

Date: August 2015
Creator: Dobbs, Benjamin M.
Description: Heinrich Baryphonus (1581-1655) and Heinrich Grimm’s (1592/3-1637) didactic treatise, Pleiades musicae (1615/1630), provides a vivid testimony to the state of music education and music theory pedagogy in Protestant Germany in the early seventeenth century. Published initially by Baryphonus for use at the Gymnasium in Quedlinburg and reissued in an expanded format by Grimm for use at the Gymnasium in Magdeburg, the text examines the fundamentals of pitch, intervals, counterpoint, and, in the second edition, triadic theory and composition. Throughout the remainder of the seventeenth century and into the eighteenth century, music theorists including Johann Andreas Herbst (1588-1666), Otto Gibel (1612-1682), and Andreas Werckmeister (1645-1706), used the document as a source for their own musical writings, solidifying its status as a significant contribution to the field of music theory. Recently, scholars such as Carl Dahlhaus, Benito Rivera, and Joel Lester have found value in Pleiades musicae for its role in the early stages of the development of triadic theory and the emergence of harmonic tonality. However, with the exception of the passages on triadic theory, the treatise continues to be relatively unknown. In order to understand the full extent of Baryphonus and Grimm’s contributions to the history of music theory, and ...
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Algorithmic Music Analysis: a Case Study of a Prelude From David Cope’s “From Darkness, Light”

Algorithmic Music Analysis: a Case Study of a Prelude From David Cope’s “From Darkness, Light”

Date: May 2015
Creator: Krämer, Reiner
Description: The use of algorithms in compositional practice has been in use for centuries. With the advent of computers, formalized procedures have become an important part of computer music. David Cope is an American composer that has pioneered systems that make use of artificial intelligence programming techniques. In this dissertation one of David Cope’s compositions that was generated with one of his processes is examined in detail. A general timeline of algorithmic compositional practice is outlined from a historical perspective, and realized in the Common Lisp programming language as a musicological tool. David Cope’s compositional output is summarized with an explanation of what types of systems he has utilized in the analyses of other composers’ music, and the composition of his own music. Twentieth century analyses techniques are formalized within Common Lisp as algorithmic analyses tools. The tools are then combined with techniques developed within other computational music analyses tools, and applied toward the analysis of Cope’s prelude. A traditional music theory analysis of the composition is provided, and outcomes of computational analyses augment the traditional analysis. The outcome of the computational analyses, or algorithmic analyses, is represented in statistical data, and corresponding probabilities. From the resulting data sets part of ...
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Tonality and the Extended Common Practice in the Music of Thad Jones

Tonality and the Extended Common Practice in the Music of Thad Jones

Date: May 2015
Creator: Rogers, Michael A
Description: Tonality is a term often used to describe the music of the common practice period (roughly 1600-1900). This study examines the music of mid twentieth-century jazz composer Thad Jones in light of an extended common practice, explicating ways in which this music might be best understood as tonal. Drawing from analyses of three of Jones’s big band compositions: To You, Three and One, and Cherry Juice, this study examines three primary elements in detail. First is Jones’s use of chord-scale application techniques in the orchestration over various chordal qualities represented by the symbols, revealing traditional as well as innovative methods by Jones. Second is Jones’s use of harmonic progressions, demonstrating his connection to past practice as well as modern jazz variations. Third is Jones’s use of contrapuntal connections and their traditional relationship to functional tonality, but in a chromatic scale-based environment. Jones’s music is presented in this study to demonstrate a tonal jazz common practice that represents an amalgamation of traditions including twentieth-century scale-based procedures, Renaissance and early twentieth-century modality, eighteenth- and nineteenth-century voice leading schemas, and Baroque and Classical descending-fifth progressions. Also included as an appendix is a list of possible note errors in the published scores of To ...
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Ligeti’s Early Experiments in Compositional Process: Simple Structures in Musica Ricercata

Ligeti’s Early Experiments in Compositional Process: Simple Structures in Musica Ricercata

Date: December 2014
Creator: Grantham, Daniel
Description: This study examines the formation of a unique chromatic and formal language in Musica Ricercata by György Ligeti. The study begins by examining statements from an interview with Ligeti conducted by Ove Nordwall in 1979. The interview discusses his compositional experiments from the early 1950s, the period in which Musica Ricercata was composed. Working from Ligeti’s words, “simple structures” are defined as repeating formations of rhythms and intervals with easily discernable features. These features must be salient such that when the structure is altered, it is still clearly and audibly recognizable. The musical and political environment in Hungary at the time is established, providing context for this early experimentation with compositional parameters. The analysis begins with an overview of the entire work, outlining developments of pitch-class density, symmetrical pitch-class structures, and notated accelerandi over the course of the multi-movement work. Analyses of simple structures in each movement elucidate both Ligeti’s experimental approaches to chromaticism, along with more traditional aspects, with special reference to Bartók’s compositional style.
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