Musical instruments are not static, unchanging objects. They are, instead, things that materially evolve in symmetry with human practices. Alterations to an instrument's design often attend to its ergonomic or expressive capacity, but sometimes an innovator causes an entirely new instrument to arise. One such instrument is the Chapman Stick. This instrument's history is closely intertwined with global currents that have evolved into virtual, online scenes. Virtuality obfuscates embodiment, but the Stick's world, like any instrument's, is optimally related in intercorporeal exchanges. Stickists circumvent real and virtual obstacles to engage the Stick world. Using an organology informed by the work of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, this study examines how the Chapman Stick, as a material "thing," speaks in and through a virtual, representational environment.
In this dissertation, I explore the musical prosody of the literary symbolists and the influence of this prosody on fin-de-siècle French music. Contrary to previous categorizations of music as symbolist based on a characteristic "sound," I argue that symbolist aesthetics demonstrably influenced musical construction and reception. My scholarship reveals that symbolist musical works across genres share an approach to composition rooted in the symbolist concept of musicality of language, a concept that shapes this music on sonic, structural, and conceptual levels. I investigate the musical responses of four different composers to a single symbolist text, Oscar Wilde's one-act play Salomé, written in French in 1891, as case studies in order to elucidate how a symbolist musicality of language informed their creation, performance, and critical reception. The musical works evaluated as case studies are Antoine Mariotte's Salomé, Richard Strauss's Salomé, Aleksandr Glazunov's Introduction et La Danse de Salomée, and Florent Schmitt's La Tragédie de Salomé. Recognition of symbolist influence on composition, and, in the case of works for the stage, on production and performance expands the repertory of music we can view critically through the lens of symbolism, developing not only our understanding of music's role in this difficult and often contradictory aesthetic philosophy but also our perception of fin-de-siècle musical culture in general.
Critics who discuss Beethoven’s Pastoral Symphony often write about aspects that run counter to their conception of what a symphony should be, such as this symphony’s static nature and its programmatic elements. In nineteenth-century Boston and London, criticism of the Pastoral Symphony reflects the opinions of a wide range of listeners, as critics variably adopted the views of the intellectual elite and general audience members. As a group, these critics acted as intermediaries between various realms of opinion regarding this piece. Their writing serves as a lens through which we can observe audiences’ acceptance of ideas common in contemporaneous musical thought, including the integrity of the artwork, the glorification of genius, and ideas about meaning in music.
Don Gillis wrote Symphony No. 5½ (1947) in order to reconcile the American public with modern art music. By synthesizing jazz (as well as other American folk idioms), singable melodies, and humor, and then couching them into symphonic language, Gillis produced a work that lay listeners could process and enjoy. The piece was an immediate success and was played by orchestras across the globe, but it did not retain this popularity and it eventually faded from relevancy. This study focuses on elements that contributed to the initial efficacy and ultimate decline of the work. Due to its pervasive popular influences, Symphony No. 5½ is a crystallized representation of time in which it was written, and it soon became dated. Don Gillis did not harbor the idea that Symphony No. 5½ would grant him great wealth or musical immortality; he had a more pragmatic goal in mind. He used every musical element at his disposal to write a symphonic work that would communicate directly with the American people via a musical language they would understand. He was successful in this regard, but the dialogue ended soon after mid-century.
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 old subject: the 1923 schism within the ICG that led Reis and others to form the League. The traditional view that the schism was the result of a conflict in idea of style is called into question, and the role that gender and power structure played in the break are explored.
The customary way to create jazz arrangements of the Western classical canon—informally called swingin’-the-classics—adapts the original composition to jazz conventions. Uri Caine (b.1956) has devised an alternative approach, most notably in his work with compositions by Gustav Mahler. He refracts Mahler’s compositions through an eclectic array of musical performance styles while also eschewing the use of traditional jazz structures in favor of stricter adherence to formal ideas in the original score than is usual in a jazz arrangement. These elements and the manner in which Caine incorporates them in his Mahler arrangements closely parallel the practices of a translator who chooses to create a “foreignizing” literary translation. The 19th-century philosopher and translation theorist Friedrich Schleiermacher explained that in a foreignizing translation “the translator leaves the writer alone as much as possible and moves the reader toward the writer.” Foreignizing translations accentuate the otherness of the original work, approximating the foreign text’s form and syntax in the receiving language and using an uncommon, heterogeneous vocabulary. The resulting translations, which challenge readers with their frequent defiance of the conventions of the receiving linguistic culture, create literal, exaggerated readings that better convey authors’ characteristic use of their own languages for a new audience. My study of Caine’s music—which includes a survey of previously unavailable manuscripts and an exploration of selected arrangements using an analytical method designed to address the qualities in music that parallel foreignizing translation-contextualizes Caine’s modifications to Mahler’s compositions to generate intertextual readings that simultaneously highlight the ways that Mahler was innovative within his own tradition.
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.
This thesis concerns the performance of identity in the music of Indian American jazz musicians Rudresh Mahanthappa and Vijay Iyer. In combining the use of Indian classical music elements with jazz, Iyer and Mahanthappa create music that is inextricably tied to their multifaceted identities. Traditional musicological analysis is juxtaposed with a theoretical framework that draws on postcolonial theory and the history of Asian immigrant populations to the U.S. I chronicle the interactions between Indian and Western music and link it to larger issues of Asian American identity formation and activism through music. Through interviews and transcriptions of studio recordings, I identify specific compositional and improvisational strategies of the musicians. I emphasize the role of individual agency in the formation of second-generation identities, drawing attention to the distinct ways that Iyer and Mahanthappa approach their music. Finally, I connect this research to a larger discourse on Indian American artistic identity.
This dissertation investigates how German-language critics articulated and publicly negotiated ideas about music and expressionism in the first five years after World War I. A close reading of largely unexplored primary sources reveals that "musical expressionism" was originally conceived as an intrinsically musical matter rather than as a stylistic analog to expressionism in other art forms, and thus as especially relevant to purely instrumental rather than vocal and stage genres. By focusing on critical reception of an unlikely group of instrumental chamber works, I elucidate how the acts of performing, listening to, and evaluating "expressionist" music were enmeshed in the complexities of a politicized public concert life in the immediate postwar period. The opening chapters establish broad music-aesthetic and sociopolitical contexts for critics' postwar discussions of "musical expressionism." After the first, introductory chapter, Chapter 2 traces how art and literary critics came to position music as the most expressionist of the arts based on nineteenth-century ideas about the apparently unique ontology of music. Chapter 3 considers how this conception of expressionism led progressive-minded music critics to interpret expressionist music as the next step in the historical development of absolute music. These critics strategically—and controversially—portrayed Schoenberg's "atonal" polyphony as a legitimate revival of "linear" polyphony in fugues by Bach and late Beethoven. Chapter 4 then situates critical debates about the musical and cultural value of expressionism within broader struggles to construct narratives that would explain Germany's traumatic defeat in the Great War and abrupt restructuring as a fragile democratic republic. Against this backdrop, the later chapters explore critics' responses to public performances of specific "expressionist" chamber works. Chapter 5 traces reactions to a provocative performance of Schoenberg's Chamber Symphony, op. 9 (1906) at the Berlin Volksbühne in February 1920. Chapter 6 examines the interplay of musical-aesthetic and sociopolitical issues in critical ...
Through his exceptional creative and performing abilities, Franz Liszt was able to transform compositions of many kinds into unified, intelligible, and pleasing arrangements for piano. Nineteenth-century definitions of "arrangement" and "Klavierauszug," which focus on the process of reworking a composition for a different medium, do not adequately describe Liszt's work in this area. His piano transcriptions of Schubert's songs, Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique and the symphonies of Beethoven are not note-for-note transcriptions; rather, they reinterpret the originals in recasting them as compositions for solo piano. Writing about Liszt's versions of Schubert's songs, a Viennese critic identified as "Carlo" heralded Liszt as the creator of a new genre and declared him to have made Schubert's songs the property of cultured pianists. Moreover, Liszt himself designated his work with Berlioz's Symphonie fantastique and the symphonies of Beethoven "Partitions de piano": literally, piano scores. As is well known, concepts of genre in general create problems for musicologists; musical arrangements add a new dimension of difficulty to the problem. Whereas Carl Dahlhaus identifies genre as a tool for interpreting composers' responses to the social dimension of music in the fabric of individual compositions, Jeffrey Kallberg perceives it as a "social phenomenon shared by composers and listeners alike." The latter concept provides a more suitable framework for discussing the genre of transcriptions, for their importance derives in large part from relationships between the original and the derivative works, both as constructed by Liszt and perceived by critics and audiences. During the nineteenth and early twentieth century's, Liszt's transcriptions of songs and symphonies were construed as both compositions for pianists and subsets of the originals. Consequently, these compositions should be studied for their own musical value as well as for the light that they shed on the original works. Liszt's transcriptions are derivative and at the same ...
This thesis is a comparative study on the late 16th century manuals of ornamentation by Girolamo Dalla Casa, Giovanni Bassano, Riccardo Rognoni, and Giovanni Battista Bovicelli. The study demonstrates that the latest Renaissance manual should be given more credit for the innovative ornamentation style that was to come in the Early Baroque era. Bovicelli's use of sequence, dissonances, and less moving notes for more rhythmic varieties are features most often associated in the style of the Baroque. Unfortunately, the topic of ornamentation in the late Renaissance is most commonly discussed as a group of different entities writing in the same style. The research for this paper is intended to separate the manuals of the late Renaissance, focusing on the separate styles that led to the work of Giovanni Battista Bovicelli.
Premiering at the twilight of the gauchesco era and the dawn of Argentine musical Modernism, El matrero (1929) by Felipe Boero (1884-1958) remains underexplored in terms of its social milieu and artistic heritage. Instantly hailed as a masterpiece, the work retains a place in the local repertory, though it has never been performed internationally. The opera draws on myths of the gaucho and takes further inspiration from the energized intellectual environment surrounding the one-hundred-year anniversary of Argentine Independence. The most influential writers of the Centenary were Leopoldo Lugones (1874-1938), Ricardo Rojas (1882-1957), and Manuel Gálvez (1882-1962). Their times were marked by contradictions: xenophobia and the desire for foreign approbation; pride in an imaginary, "barbaric" yet noble ideal wiped out by the "civilizing" ambitions of revered nineteenth-century leaders. Krausism, a system of ideas following the teachings of Karl Friedrich Krause (1781-1832), had an impact on the period as exhibited in the political philosophy of Hipólito Yrigoyen (1852-1933), who served as president from 1916 to 1922 and 1928 to 1930 when he was deposed by a right-wing coup d'état. Uncritical applications of traditional understandings of nationalism have had a negative impact on Latin American music scholarship. A distillation of scholarly conceptions of Argentine nacionalismo, which address the meaning of the word as it was used in the early twentieth century, combined with an examination of major works of important literary figures of the Centenary provide a firmer ground for discussion. Gálvez paints a conservative portrait of a refined, well-traveled dilettante who finds true enlightenment only in his own rural, Argentine culture. A liberal, Rojas understands nationalism as devotion to the development of national institutions and local art. Lugones argues the foundation of national art should be the gaucho, and articulates the hierarchical sociabilities it should articulate. Boero adopts elements of Krausism and ...
Francis Poulenc’s three-act opera Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-1956) depicts the struggles of the novice nun Blanche de la Force during the Reign of Terror of the French Revolution. The use of Latin liturgical music at critical points in the opera conveys the ritualistic nature of Catholic worship. The spiritual message of mystical substitution, along with the closely related notion of vicarious suffering, imbue the opera with a spirituality that offers a sharp contrast to earlier operatic settings of Catholic texts, particularly during the age of grand opera. Marian devotion also plays an important role in the opera. The final tableau of the opera stages the execution of Blanche and her sisters, complete with the sound of a guillotine, with the nuns singing the Salve Regina as they proceed to the scaffold. The multivalence of the final tableau highlights the importance of voice and its absence. While the nuns, onstage spectators, and the guillotine are audibly present in the scene, the priest participates solely through gesture. The surfacing of the Lacanian Real in the silent moment of traumatic shock that follows the guillotine’s first fall allows for intertextual references to the opera in Poulenc’s Sonate pour Flûte et Piano (1957) to function as a work of remembrance.
In eighteenth-century Britain, many aristocrats studied music, participated as amateurs in musical clubs, and patronized London’s burgeoning concert life. Richard Fitzwilliam, Seventh Viscount Fitzwilliam of Merrion and Thorncastle (1745-1816), was one such patron and amateur. Fitzwilliam shaped his activities – participation, patronage, and collecting – in a unique way that illustrates his specialized tastes and interests. While as an amateur musician he sang in the Noblemen’s and Gentlemen’s Catch Club (the premiere social club dedicated to musical performance), he rose to the highest level of patronage by spearheading the Handel Commemoration Festival of 1784 and serving for many years as a Director of the Concert of Antient Music, the most prestigious concert series in Georgian Britain. His lasting legacy, however, was his bequest to Cambridge University of his extensive collection of art, books and music, as well as sufficient funds to establish the Fitzwilliam Museum. At the time of his death, Fitzwilliam’s collection of music was the best in the land, save that in the Royal Library. Thus, his collection is ideally suited for examination as proof of his activities, taste and connoisseurship. Moreover, the music in Fitzwilliam’s collection shows his participation in the contemporary musicological debate, evidenced by his advocacy for ancient music, his agreement with the views of Charles Avison and his support for the music of Domenico Scarlatti. On one side of this debate were proponents of learned, ancient music, such as Fitzwilliam and Avison, whose Essay on Musical Expression of 1752 was a milestone in musical criticism. On the other side of the discussion were advocates for the more modern, “classical” style and genres, led by historian Charles Burney.
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 for this study, including a brief summary of Busoni’s ideas on the aesthetics of music and a summary of his influence and development as a composer. Chapter 2 addresses the concept of polyphonic harmony in more detail, some theoretical ideas related to it, and characteristics of Busoni’s late style that reflect this concept. Chapter 3 is dedicated to analytical methodology, addressing concepts which emerge from various linear approaches to the analysis of some twentieth-century music. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are each dedicated to a specific work, the purpose being to illuminate through linear analysis compositional characteristics and techniques related ...
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.
This dissertation examines pre-Kantian rational philosophy and the development of the discipline of aesthetics in the North German Enlightenment. With emphasis on the historical conception of the physiological and psychological experience of music, this project determines the function of music both privately and socially in the eighteenth century. As a result, I identify the era of rational aesthetics (ca.1750-1800) as a music-historical period unified by the aesthetic function and metaphysical experience of music, which inform the underlying motivation for musical styles, genres, and means of expression, leading to a more meaningful and compelling historical periodization. The philosophy of Alexander Baumgarten, Johann Georg Sulzer, and others enable definitions of the experience of beautiful objects and those concepts related to music composition, listening, and taste, and determine how rational aesthetics impacted the practice, function, and ultimately the prevailing style of music in the era. The construction, style, and performance means of the free fantasia, the most personal and expressive genre of the era, identify its function as the private act of solitude, or a musical meditation. An examination of pleasure societies establishes the role of music in performance and discussion in both social gatherings and learned musical clubs for conveying the morally good, which results in the spread of good taste. Taken together, the complimentary practices of private and social music played a significant role in eighteenth-century life for developing the self, through personal taste, and society, through a morally good culture.
During the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, Venetian society and politics could be considered as a "polychoral culture." The imagination of the republic rested upon a shared set of social attitudes and beliefs. The political structure included several social groups that functioned as identifiable entities; republican ideologies construed them together as parts of a single harmonious whole. Venice furthermore employed notions of the republic to bolster political and religious independence, in particular from Rome. As is well known, music often contributes to the production and transmission of ideology, and polychoral music in Venice was no exception. Multi-choir music often accompanied religious and civic celebrations in the basilica of San Marco and elsewhere that emphasized the so-called "myth of Venice," the city's complex of religious beliefs and historical heritage. These myths were shared among Venetians and transformed through annual rituals into communal knowledge of the republic. Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli and other Venetian composers wrote polychoral pieces that were structurally homologous with the imagination of the republic. Through its internal structures, polychoral music projected the local ideology of group harmony. Pieces used interaction among hierarchical choirs - their alternation in dialogue and repetition - as rhetorical means, first to create the impression of collaboration or competition, and then to bring them together at the end, as if resolving discord into concord. Furthermore, Giovanni Gabrieli experimented with the integration of instrumental choirs and recitative within predominantly vocal multi-choir textures, elevating music to the category of a theatrical religious spectacle. He also adopted and developed richer tonal procedures belonging to the so-called "hexachordal tonality" to underscore rhetorical text delivery. If multi-choir music remained the central religious repertory of the city, contemporary single-choir pieces favored typical polychoral procedures that involve dialogue and repetition among vocal subgroups. Both repertories adopted clear rhetorical means of ...
In “Sounds for Adventurous Listeners,” I argue that Conover’s role in the dissemination of jazz through the Music USA Jazz Hour was more influential on an educational level than what literature on Conover currently provides. Chapter 2 begins with an examination of current studies regarding the role of jazz in Cold War diplomacy, the sociopolitical implications of avant-garde jazz and race, the convergence of fandom and propaganda, the promoter as facilitator of musical trends, and the influence of international radio during the Cold War. In chapter 3 I introduce the Friends of Music USA Newsletter and explain its function as a record of overseas jazz reception and a document that cohered a global network of fans. I then focus on avant-garde debates of the 1960s and discuss Conover’s role overseas and in the United States. Chapter 4 engages social purpose and jazz criticism in the 1960s. I discuss Conover’s philosophy on social responsibility, and how his contributions intersected with other relevant discourses on race on the eve of the civil rights movement. I argue that Conover embodied two personas: one as jazz critic and promoter in the United States, and the other as an international intermediary. In chapter 5 I discuss how Conover presented the avant-garde to his overseas audience. I argue that through his efforts to broadcast jazz impartially, he legitimized avant-garde and emphasized its qualities as art music. In chapter 6 I explore fandom studies as they apply to the formation of Music USA as a global fan network. I discuss the early roots of Conover’s interest in science fiction fandom as a motivation for the implementation of the Friends of Music USA (FOMUSA) groups. Chapter 7 concludes in a discussion of the deification of Conover though the medium of radio in the midst of the Cold War. ...
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