"Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett

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Among the Voices Voiceless is a composition for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), viola, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics, based on the poem "What would I do without this world faceless incurious" by Samuel Beckett. The piece is a setting for disembodied voice: the vocal part exists solely in the electronics. Having no physical body, the voice is obscured as the point of empathy for the audience. In addition, instrumental solos compete for focus during the work's twenty minute duration. In passages including a soloist, the soloist functions simultaneously as antagonist and avatar to the disembodied voice. Spoken ... continued below

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Lyszczarz, Joseph E August 2017.

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  • Lyszczarz, Joseph E

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Among the Voices Voiceless is a composition for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), viola, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics, based on the poem "What would I do without this world faceless incurious" by Samuel Beckett. The piece is a setting for disembodied voice: the vocal part exists solely in the electronics. Having no physical body, the voice is obscured as the point of empathy for the audience. In addition, instrumental solos compete for focus during the work's twenty minute duration. In passages including a soloist, the soloist functions simultaneously as antagonist and avatar to the disembodied voice. Spoken word recordings and electronic manipulation of instrumental material provides further layers of ambiguity. The companion critical essay "Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett proposes the distillation of Beckett's style into the elements of prosaicness, repetition, fragmentation, ambiguity, and symmetry. Discussions of Beckett's works such as Waiting for Godot and Molloy demonstrate these elements in his practice. This framework informs the examination of two other musical settings of Beckett's poetry: Neither by Morton Feldman and Odyssey by Roger Reynolds. Finally, these elements are used to analyze and elucidate the compositional decisions made in Among the Voices Voiceless.

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  • August 2017

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  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

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Lyszczarz, Joseph E. "Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett, dissertation, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011787/: accessed November 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .