UNT Theses and Dissertations - 14 Matching Results

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Postmodern Multiplicities in Three Original Works

Description: My recent compositions are situated within a postmodern theoretical framework. The heterogeneity of materials and hybridity of musical formation in these works are interpreted and contextualized within a personal reading of postmodern theories. The critical essay traces my aesthetics through a historical investigation into the definition of musical postmodernism. Through extensive citation and analysis of the writings of Julius T. Fraser, Italo Calvino, and Richard Rorty, the essay aims to provide a theoretical context for the interpretation of the musical examples. The creative documentation contains three newly-composed musical works: Piano Trio from Opus 3/c, Opus 6 for Violin, and Opus 7 for Piccolo. The works' postmodern features include creative approaches to the fragmentation of musical time into separate levels, historical allusions, and the exploration of multiplicity.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Bejo, Ermir
Partner: UNT Libraries

Crisis and Catharsis: Linear Analysis and the Interpretation of Herbert Howells' "Requiem" and "Hymnus Paradisi"

Description: Hymnus Paradisi (1938), a large-scale choral and orchestral work, is well-known as an elegiac masterpiece written by Herbert Howells in response to the sudden loss of his young son in 1935. The composition of this work, as noted by the composer himself and those close to him, successfully served as a means of working through his grief during the difficult years that followed Michael's death. In this dissertation, I provide linear analyses for Howells' Hymnus Paradisi as well as its predecessor, Howells' Requiem (1932), which was adapted and greatly expanded in the creation of Hymnus Paradisi. These analyses and accompanying explanations are intended to provide insight into the intricate contrapuntal style in which Howells writes, showing that an often complex musical surface is underpinned by traditional linear and harmonic patterns on the deeper structural levels. In addition to examining the middleground and background structural levels within each movement, I also demonstrate how Howells creates large-scale musical continuity and shapes the overall composition through the use of large-scale linear connections, shown through the meta-Ursatz (an Ursatz which extends across multiple movements creating multi-movement unity). Finally, in my interpretation of these analyses, I discuss specific motives in Hymnus Paradisi which, I hypothesize, musically represent the crisis of Michael's death. These motives are initially introduced in the "Preludio," composed out on multiple structural levels as Hymnus Paradisi unfolds, and, finally, I argue, are transformed as a representation of the process of healing, and ultimately, catharsis.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Davenport, Jennifer Tish
Partner: UNT Libraries

Depicting Affect through Text, Music, and Gesture in Venetian Opera, c. 1640-1658

Description: Although early Venetian operas by composers such as Claudio Monteverdi and Francesco Cavalli offer today's listeners profound moments of emotion, the complex codes of meaning connecting emotion (or affect) with music in this repertoire are different from those of later seventeenth-century operatic repertoire. The specific textual and musical markers that librettists and composers used to indicate individual emotions in these operas were historically and culturally contingent, and many scholars thus consider them to be inaccessible to listeners today. This dissertation demonstrates a new analytical framework that is designed to identify the specific combinations of elements that communicate each lifelike emotion in this repertoire. Re-establishing the codes that govern the relationship between text, musical sound, and affect in this repertoire illuminates the nuanced emotional language of operas by composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Francesco Cavalli, Antonio Cesti, and Francesco Lucio. The new analytical framework that underlies this study derives from analysis of seventeenth-century Venetian explanations and depictions of emotional processes, which reveal a basis in their society's underlying Aristotelian philosophy. Chapters III and IV examine extant documents from opera librettists, composers, audience members, and their associates to reveal how they understood emotions to work in the mind and body. These authors, many of whom were educated by Aristotelian scholars at the nearby University of Padua, understood action and emotion to be bound together in a reciprocal, causal relationship, and this synthesis was reflected in the way that they depicted affect in opera. It also guided the ways that singer-actors performed and audiences interpreted this music. In contrast, post-1660 Baroque operas from France and Italy express affect according to the musical conventions of the Doctrine of Affections (based in the ideas of René Descartes) and aim to present a single, clear emotion for each large semantic unit (recitative or aria). This paradigm ...
Date: May 2018
Creator: Hagen, Emily June
Partner: UNT Libraries

Interactive Networks in "Forgotten Lyres": Critical Analysis and Original Composition

Description: Forgotten Lyres is a musical response to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Mutability, which depicts the fragility and unpredictable nature of human life. Four independent chamber ensembles make up the performing forces of Forgotten Lyres; the musicians evoke the topics of Shelley's text as they interact and coordinate with one another according to a variety of paradigms and without the use of a conductor. This essay focuses on the approaches to coordination within and between ensembles, and the ways in which the musicians' interactions can evoke and convey Shelley's texts. The essay also examines works by Mel Powell, Toru Takemitsu, Witold Lutoslawski, and Pierre Boulez as examples and precursors for the coordination strategies employed in Forgotten Lyres.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Harenda, Timothy
Partner: UNT Libraries

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

Description: 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.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Lyszczarz, Joseph E
Partner: UNT Libraries

Developing Variation and Melodic Contour Analysis: A New Look at the Music of Max Reger

Description: Max Reger was a prolific composer on the threshold of modernism. The style of his extensive musical output was polarizing among his contemporaries. A criticism of Reger's music is its complex and dense musical structure. Despite writing tonal music, Reger often pushes the boundaries of tonality so far that all sense of formal organization is seemingly imperceptible. In this dissertation, I offer what I observed to be a new way of discerning Reger's motivic relationships and formal structures within and between movements. There are 3 primary tools and methods I incorporated to make these observations. Schoenberg's developing variation, melodic contour analysis as discussed by Elizabeth West-Marvin and Diana Deutsch, and Janet Schmalfeldt's motivic cyclicism stemming from internal themes. In this dissertation I examine five different musical works by Reger: D minor Piano Quartet, Clarinet Quintet, Piano Concerto, String Quartet, op. 121 and E minor Piano Trio, op. 102. My analysis shows how Reger relies on melodic contours of his motives to connect musical moments across entire movements and entire works with multiple movements. These motives are developed and often mark structurally significant moments providing the organization often perceived as missing in Reger's music.
Date: August 2018
Creator: McConnell, Sarah
Partner: UNT Libraries

Allusions and Borrowings in Selected Works by Christopher Rouse: Interpreting Manner, Meaning, and Motive through a Narratological Lens

Description: Christopher Rouse (b. 1949), winner of the Pulitzer Prize for his Trombone Concerto (1993) and a Grammy award for his Concerto de Gaudi (1999), has come to the forefront as one of America's most prominent orchestral composers. Several of Rouse's works feature quotations of and strong allusions to other composers' works that are used both rhetorically and structurally. These borrowings range from a variety of different genres and styles of works, from Claudio Monteverdi's L'incoronazione di Poppea to Jay Ferguson's "Thunder Island." Due to the more accessible filtering and funneling methods of musical borrowings (proliferation of mass media), the weighty discourses attached to them, and their variety of functions (critiquing canons, engaging in an allusive tradition, etc.), quotation has become elevated to the most prominent of musical actors that trigger narrative listening strategies, which in turn have a stronger role in the formation of narratives about music as well as narratives of music. The primary aim of this study is to adapt and apply more recent methodological narrativity frameworks to selected instrumental compositions by Rouse containing quotations, suggesting that their manner of insertion, their method of disclosure, and their referential potential can benefit from being examined through various narrative lenses as well as reveal their participation in certain roles of narrative functions. For this study, I have chosen six instrumental works by Rouse for examination – the Violoncello Concerto, Symphony No. 1, Iscariot, String Quartet No. 2, Seeing, and Thunderstuck. On a more specific level, the aim of this study is to investigate the manner, meaning, and motive of the quoted material in a select group of Rouse's compositions through various narratological lenses. To accomplish this, I intend 1) to establish a context for understanding the musical borrowing procedures of Rouse; 2) to explore how works containing quotations can be ...
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Date: May 2019
Creator: Morey, Michael Jonathan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Multidimensional Musical Objects in Mahler's Seventh Symphony

Description: Gustav Mahler's Seventh Symphony seems to belie traditional notions of symphonic unity in that it progresses from E minor in the first movement to C major in the Finale. The repertoire of eighteenth and nineteenth century composers such as Haydn, Beethoven, and Brahms indicates that tonal holism is a significant factor for the symphonic genre. In order to reconcile Mahler's adventurous key scheme, this dissertation explores a multidimensional harmonic model that expands upon other concepts like Robert Bailey's double-tonic complex and transformation theory. A multidimensional musical object is a nexus of several interconnected chords that occupy the same functional space (tonic, dominant, or subdominant) and can be integrated into a Schenkerian reading. Mahler's Seventh is governed by a three-dimensional tonic object that encompasses the major and minor versions of C, E, and A-flat and the augmented triad that is formed between them. The nature of this multidimensional harmony allows unusual formal procedures to unfold, most notably in the first movement's sonata form. To navigate this particular sonata design, I have incorporated my own analytical terminology, the identity narrative, to track the background harmonic events. The location of these events (identity schism, identity crisis, and identity reclamation) is critical to the entire structure of the Seventh.
Date: May 2019
Creator: Patterson, Jason S
Partner: UNT Libraries

Shaping Hagiography through Liturgy: Music for the Patron Saints of Three Cathedrals in Medieval Aquitaine

Description: While the development of hagiography over time has long attracted the attention of medievalists, scholars have not fully explored the critical role of the liturgy in prompting and transmitting these changes. This dissertation examines the liturgies for the patron saints of three musical and ecclesiastical centers in medieval Aquitaine: the cathedrals of Saint-Trophime in Arles, Saint-Just-et-Saint-Pasteur in Narbonne, and Saint-Étienne in Toulouse. Through the music, texts, and ritual actions of the liturgy, the clerical communities of these three institutions reinforced some aspects of their patron saint's legendary biography and modified others. Yet the process unfolded differently at each cathedral, revealing the particular preferences of the canons of each community as well as their changing circumstances during the Middle Ages. In Arles, the office for St. Trophime, which was likely composed at the cathedral, shows dramatic changes in the saint's hagiography. The clerics in Narbonne also composed an office for their patron saints but did not substantially change the details of Justus and Pastor's legendary biography. In Toulouse, the canons selected from among the preexisting repertoire of chants and texts available for St. Stephen, crafting liturgies that were particular to Saint-Étienne within a clearly Aquitanian context. By revealing the ways in which the clerics of Saint-Trophime, Saint-Just, and Saint-Étienne shaped the legendary biographies of their patron saints, my work provides new insights into the ways in which clerical communities throughout Latin Christendom shaped and reshaped the hagiographic portraits of their patron saints through the creation, compilation, and celebration of new liturgies.
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Date: December 2018
Creator: Recek, Andrea
Partner: UNT Libraries

Recent Approaches to Real-Time Notation

Description: This paper discusses several compositions that use the computer screen to present music notation to performers. Three of these compositions, Law of Fives (2015), Polytera II (2016), and Terraformation (2016–17), employ strategies that allow the notation to change during the performance of the work as the product of composer-regulated algorithmic generation and performer interaction. New methodologies, implemented using Cycling74's Max software, facilitate performance of these works by allowing effective control of generation and on-screen display of notation; these include an application called VizScore, which delivers notation and conducts through it in real-time, and a development environment for real-time notation using the Bach extensions and graphical overlays around them. These tools support a concept of cartographic composition, in which a composer maps a range of potential behaviors that are mediated by human or algorithmic systems or some combination of the two. Notational variation in performance relies on computer algorithms that can both generate novel ideas and be subject to formal plans designed by the composer. This requires a broader discussion of the underlying algorithms and control mechanisms in the context of algorithmic art in general. Terraformation, for viola and computer, uses a model of the performer's physical actions to constrain the algorithmic generation of musical material displayed in on-screen notation. The resulting action-based on-screen notation system combines common practice notation with fingerboard tablature, color gradients, and abstract graphics. This hybrid model of dynamic notation puts unconventional demands on the performer; implications of this new performance practice are addressed, including behaviors, challenges, and freedoms of real-time notation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Shafer, Seth N
Partner: UNT Libraries

Metric Dissonance in Non-Isochronous Meters

Description: Although music of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries makes frequent use of non-isochronous meter (meters involving beats of different length, such as 5/4 and 7/8), most studies on meter and metric dissonance focus on isochronous meters (meters involving beats of the same length, such as 4/4 and 9/8). This dissertation bridges this gap by developing two methodologies to account for metric dissonance involving non-isochronous pulses: modified ski-hill graphs and the composite beat attack point system. Modified ski-hill graphs, adapted from Richard Cohn's ski-hill graphs, illustrate metric states involving non-isochronous pulses and reveal degrees of dissonance in musical passages that share time spans, as in 5/4 grouped 3+2 vs. 5/4 grouped 2+3. The composite beat attack point system uses rhythmic notation to illustrate metric states involving any pulse duration or time span, revealing specific points of dissonance and consonance, relative strength of dissonance and consonance, and patterns of dissonance and consonance. The methodology is used to closely examine the treatment of metric dissonance in Holst's "Mars," from The Planets, Ligeti's Hungarian Rock (Chaconne), and Ligeti's Désordre. The analyses focus on passages where the metric dissonance becomes ever more pronounced and ends up obliterating any sense of meter.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Smith, Jayson
Partner: UNT Libraries

Strategies for the Creation of Spatial Audio in Electroacoustic Music

Description: This paper discusses technical and conceptual approaches to incorporate 3D spatial movement in electroacoustic music. The Ambisonic spatial audio format attempts to recreate a full sound field (with height information) and is currently a popular choice for 3D spatialization. While tools for Ambisonics are typically designed for the 2D computer screen and keyboard/mouse, virtual reality offers new opportunities to work with spatial audio in a 3D computer generated environment. An overview of my custom virtual reality software, VRSoMa, demonstrates new possibilities for the design of 3D audio. Created in the Unity video game engine for use with the HTC Vive virtual reality system, VRSoMa utilizes the Google Resonance SDK for spatialization. The software gives users the ability to control the spatial movement of sound objects by manual positioning, a waypoint system, animation triggering, or through gravity simulations. Performances can be rendered into an Ambisonic file for use in digital audio workstations. My work Discords (2018) for 3D audio facilitates discussion of the conceptual and technical aspects of spatial audio for use in musical composition. This includes consideration of human spatial hearing, technical tools, spatial allusion/illusion, and blending virtual/real spaces. The concept of spatial gestures has been used to categorize the various uses of spatial motion within a musical composition.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Smith, Michael S
Partner: UNT Libraries

Helen Kotas (1916-200): A Female Pioneer in Major US Orchestras

Description: Helen Kotas was an accomplished musician and teacher who helped open the door for women in major US orchestras. In 1941 the Chicago Symphony hired its first female brass musician, principal hornist Helen Kotas. With that daring move, she became a pioneer for her gender in the major orchestras of North America. Despite her many contributions to the musical community, Kotas's life has not been researched and documented. This paper looks at Helen Kotas's career as well as a glimpse at her life and personality. In addition to documenting her life, this dissertation attempts to show at least a portion of Kotas's philosophy of teaching and horn playing. She was an accomplished horn soloist and studied the literature extensively. Kotas performed in the Chicago Civic Orchestra, the Woman's Symphony Orchestra, and Leopold Stokowski's All-American Youth Orchestra. Kotas was hired by Fritz Reiner as third horn of the Pittsburgh Symphony. When Frederick Stock, conductor of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, heard that Helen Kotas was going to Pittsburgh, he insisted that she audition for the CSO. Kotas auditioned on the Concerto for Horn by Richard Strauss and the concertmaster said, "Hire her!" She performed as principal horn with the orchestra until Artur Rodzinski was hired as conductor in 1948 and replaced Kotas with Philip Farkas. Following her time with the CSO, Kotas was principal horn of the Chicago Lyric Opera and taught at the Sherwood and American Conservatories. She was an active soloist and premiered works by Arne Oldberg and Hugo Kauder.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Thayer, Heather Leweise
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Schenkerian Analysis of Beethoven's E Minor Piano Sonata, Opus 90

Description: This thesis examines the history and origins of Beethoven's E minor Piano Sonata and examines the possibility of the programmatic conception of the work. Dedicated to Beethoven's friend Count Moritz Lichnowsky, the sonata may have been inspired by the Count's illicit affair with his future wife, the singer and actress Josefa Stummer. Providing a thorough Schenkerian analysis of both movements, the inner harmonic structure of the composition is revealed and explained. The author also investigates and details the unpublished original analyses of the composition by Heinrich Schenker, Erika Elias, and Hans Weisse. Both English and German language sources are incorporated into a comprehensive examination of Beethoven's Piano Sonata, op. 90.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Treber, Stefan L.
Partner: UNT Libraries