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.]
Concerto for Solo Percussion and Concert Band was commissioned by Staff Sergeant Rone Sparrow, a percussionist with the West Point Military Academy Band. Funding for the project was provided by the Barlow Foundation. The piece was premiered April 13, 2005 in the Eisenhower Hall Theater at West Point, New York. Rone Sparrow performed with the USMA band, and Colonel Thomas Rotondi Jr., Commander/Conductor, conducted the piece. The concerto consists of three movements, and each movement features a different instrument: the first features marimba, the second, vibraphone, and the third movement features the drum kit together with a rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums). In addition to the piece, the dissertation paper discusses important technical detail related to the piece, including: harmony, form, rhythm, programmatic ideas as they relate to motivic strands, and the process of generating and discarding material. The paper also focuses on a number of factors that were influential to the piece, such as postmodern philosophy.
Beginning in the 1970s, and aided by the advancement and an increased prevalence of computers, spectral music emerged as an important development in twentieth century music. Spectral composers, as exemplified by Gérard Grisey and Tristan Murail, took the harmonic spectra of sounds as the fundamental materials of composition. The resulting music placed an emphasis on texture and gradually evolving forms. The generation of composers immediately following the spectralists assimilated their techniques into distinct and varying styles. Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho uses spectral techniques to create an aesthetic that generates form and progression from a sound/noise axis. In her piece Du cristal…à la fumée, a number of pendulum and half-pendulum gestures build up texture and form. The accompanying original composition Axiom Unearthed employs similar pendulum gestures and uses spectral techniques to generate melody and harmony in an aesthetic divergent from traditional spectral pieces.
And Drops of Rain Fall Like Tears is a composition for electroacoustic music with an optional ambient video component. The composition consists of a single movement electroacoustic work twenty-two minutes in duration. The piece creates an immersive sonic environment within the confines of a typical concert space, thereby recreating the powerful temper and subtle beauty of nature from different sonic perspectives. The paper is divided into four chapters, each discussing an element of the piece in detail. The introduction presents background information and compositional approach for the composition. Chapters 1 through 4 present detailed information related to the creation of both the electroacoustic music and video elements of the piece. Chapter 4 contains relevant information to the performance of the piece.
‘...and one of time.' is a reinterpretation of a small musical moment from Philip Glass' opera, Einstein on the Beach, centered around the phrase "Berne, Switzerland 1905." This reinterpretation is realized through the use of several different compositional techniques including spectral composition, micropolyphony and dodecaphony, as well as the application of extra-musical models developed by Alan Lightman, John Gardner, Italo Calvino and Albert Einstein.
Animations is a composition in six movements (Fish, Seals, Birds, Cats, Zebras, Snakes) for percussion and computer music on tape. One percussionist performs on various percussion instruments: two suspended cymbals, crotales, triangle, vibraphone, glockenspiel, marimba, three bongos, snare drum, field drum, large tom-tom, bass drum, kettle drum, temple blocks and vibraslap. The computer music on tape employs sampled sounds in a MIDI sequencing environment. The melodic and harmonic materials for the piece are derived from a matrix of twelve heptatonic scales. The individual movements are notated using both traditional and proportional notation systems. The score is 37 pages long with a twenty-two page analysis preceding the score. Animations is approximately nine minutes in duration.
In the composition Archetypal Dreams, musical imagery is created through motifs and ideas that represent the symbolic messages of the unconscious. These motifs are introduced, developed, transformed, and overlapped in contrapuntal dialogue. This unfolding of material grows in significance and complexity building to a resolution of tension. The relationship of motifs to the row is re-established and the row is reconstructed. In this manner the conscious and unconscious elements of the personality are symbolically reconciled. The four movements of the work are entitled: I. Primordial Images; II. Archaic Remnants; III. Mythological Motifs; IV. The Process of Individuation
Augeries is a multi-channel electro-acoustic composition for flute, clarinet, percussion, and tape. It is intended to be diffused through an 8-channnel playback system. Inspired by the first four lines of William Blake's Augeries of Innocence, Augeries captures the qualitative aspects of Blake's poetry by presenting the listener with an equally aperspectival aesthetic experience. The small-scale structure reflected on the large-scale form - the infusion of vastness and expansiveness into the fragile and minute. Augeries incorporates techniques of expansion and contraction, metonymic relationships, dilation and infolding of time, and structured improvisation to create an experience that is designed to explore the notion of musical time, and to bring to the listener the sense of time freedom. The critical analysis suggests that the increase in the notions of musical time, the aesthetics with which they conform, and the new time forms created, encapsulate communicative significance. This significance exists within a horizon of meaning. Semiotics illuminates an understanding of the structuring techniques used to render time as an area of artistic play. Understanding the aesthetics and mechanisms through which these techniques can be used constitutes a shared horizon of meaning. The concepts of cultural phenomenologist Jean Gebser, as explicated in The Ever-Present Origin, are used to contextualize these notions, through a description of the various consciousness structures with specific attention to the space-time relationships. Of specific concern are the aperspectival manifestations in music in the twentieth century and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the area of electro-acoustic music, particularly spectral music. The theoretical analysis explores how the various techniques are used to create an aperspectival experience, and includes specific descriptions of the technique of refraction as metonymy, and pitch set analysis of the technique of expansion and contraction.
Candy Chang developed a public art installation where people are given the opportunity to write their answers to "Before I Die I want to ________." in a public space. I created one of these walls in Denton, TX and set it to music in a 12 minutes and 42 second piece titled Before I Die..., which combines elements of South Indian carnatic music, gospel, R&B, jazz fusion, and minimalism. The composition was influenced by the music of several crossover artists Becca Stevens, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Nico Muhly, Poovalur Sriji, Tigran Hamasyan, and James Blake. Crossover music, fusion, and third-stream are all synonymous terms used to describe music where multiple genres or styles are authentically combined. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the balance of musical elements in crossover works as well as how specific works composed by the artists mentioned have influenced the creation of the Before I Die... piece.
The composition is scored for the following instruments: 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets, 2 bassoons and a large percussion section requiring 7 performers. Beneath the Dancing Moon is a programmatic piece in one movement form composed of 5 continuous sections. It depicts a night scene when the elves begin to dance beneath the moon. Later, the moaning ghosts from the dark forest and the witches with brooms come to join them. They dance furiously until the moon disappears, the sea stops dead and all the dancers suddenly vanish. The approximate performance time is 17 minutes.
I, Blavatsky is a one-act opera based on the life of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, a nineteenth-century Russian princess and co-founder of a religious organization called the Theosophical Society. The libretto, by the composer, involves a cast of three principal soloists and minor roles for six more singers who are also participants in a small chorus. The text format features free verse alternating with regular, rhymed strophes. Accompaniment is provided by a piano. Melodic structure combines some nineteenth-century Romantic idioms with twentieth-century style. Most of the melodic and harmonic material was intuitively composed to express the text. Rhythmic and stylistic contrasts are accomplished in the representation of the extensive travels of the main character. Stage directions involve a stylized set, several scenes requiring minimal set changes, magical effects to represent that facet of Blavatsky's life, and onstage costume changes for several characters. Approximate duration is one hour.
The purpose of this critical essay is two-fold. First, the essay presents a detailed critical analysis of my original composition, Blueline Concerto for bass trombone and wind ensemble. Second, using Blueline Concerto, the essay presents preliminary findings of my study to develop an approach to composing that takes into account the musicians' health, specifically regarding noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Through various hypothesized composition- and orchestral-based approaches, I test effectiveness on changes in NIHL risk while also noting that artistic merit and compositional integrity is preserved.
The purpose of this research was to explore historical perspective of brass music. There is a brief history of brass bands in Britain. Furthermore, the paper examines the differences between two brass band pieces in the repertoire, A Western Fanfare by Eric Ewazen and Brass Symphony by Jan Koetsier. Both of these pieces were compared and contrasted against the author's newly composed work for brass, Two Companion Pieces for Brass Ensemble. The paper covers different techniques commonly used in brass writing and points these techniques out in all three pieces.
Breaking Through is a single-movement composition for symphony orchestra based on a fourteen-note melody. Every harmonic and melodic figure except the bass line is derived from this source melody. The structure of the work is based on a number of musical dichotomies that work on both local and large-scale levels. The local dichotomies contrast consonance with dissonance and ambiguity with clarity (in respect to texture and rhythm). The dichotomy of two-part form versus three-part form and the dichotomy of simplicity versus complexity operate on the large scale. The unity lended by the single source melody coupled with the contrasts furnished by the aforementioned dichotomies allow Breaking Through to be both coherent and interesting.
Cenotaph is a work of fifteen minutes duration for solo tape realized on the Synclavier Digital Music System at the Center for Experimental Music and Intermedia. All of the sound materials in the work consist of resynthesized timbres derived from the analysis of digital recordings of seven different human voices, each speaking the last name of one of the Challenger astronauts. The work's harmonic resources are derived in a unique way involving partitioning of the octave by powers of the Golden Section. The work is in a single movement divided into three sections which function as prologue, action, and epilogue, respectively. This formal structure is reinforced by differentiation of harmonicmaterials and texture. Although Cenotaph cannot be performed "live" and exists only as a recording, a graphic score is included to assist analysis and study.
The three movements of this piece are related proportionally in that movements one and two represent three-fifths of the length of the whole. Movement three represents two-fifths of the length of the whole. Another proportional relationship exists between movements one and two. Movement one represents two-fifths of the length of the first two movements, while movement two represents three-fifths of the length of the two. An additional link between the three movements is pitch content. Movements one and two have little in common in this regard, but movement three combines elements of the first two. The duration of the entire piece is approximately fifteen minutes.
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 noise analysis as a compositional tool.
In Part I of this thesis, I examine the use of Latin American rituals, ceremonies, and traditional folklore as conceptual and compositional material; studying and re-contextualizing concepts, cultures, and ideologies, and introducing them to foreign audiences. I explore issues such as laptop improvisation, interaction with other performance forces, and the utilization of the social elements of non-western celebrations, as explored in Clestrinye, a work for live and fixed electronics, mixed ensemble, dancers, and painters.
Based on a story by Joshua Forehand with additional lyrics by Joshua Bradford, Clockwork Plums is an original musical work that integrates techniques and ideas from composers and different cultures. The accompanying essay about the work includes a summary of the story, "Clockwork Plums," some historical background covering 30 years of pop music, an analysis focusing on the use of African and Reichian compositional devices, and discussion about controlled improvisation and use of the voice as compositional tools. The music consists of three sections scored for 5 voices (lead male vocalist and SATB), flute (doubling tenor saxophone), Bb clarinet (doubling baritone saxophone), violin, cello, piano, electronic keyboard, electric guitar, electric bass, drum set, and percussion.
"Compositional Approaches to New Media Paradigms" is the discursive accompaniment to the original composition BoMoH, (a new media chamber opera. A variety of new media concepts and practices are discussed in relation to their use as a contemporary compositional methodology for computer musicians and digital content producers. This paper aligns relevant discourse with a variety of concepts as they influence and affect the compositional process. This paper does not propose a new working method; rather it draws attention to a contemporary interdisciplinary practice that facilitates new possibilities for engagement and aesthetics in digital art/music. Finally, in demonstrating a selection of the design principals, from a variety of new media theories of interest, in compositional structure and concept, it is my hope to provide composers and computer musicians with a tested resource that will function as a helpful set of working guidelines for producing new media enabled art, sonic or otherwise.
Concertino for Tuba, Winds, and Percussion is a work for solo tuba and an ensemble consisting of two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets, bass clarinet, bassoon, four horns, two trumpets, two trombones, bass trombone, and three percussionists. The percussionists play small, medium, and large suspended cymbals, triangle, tam tam, metal wind chimes, five tom toms, snare drum, tenor drum, bass drum, two sets of two timbales, five temple blocks, maracas, glockenspiel, vibraphone, chimes, xylophone, marimba, and five timpani. The three movements of the work follow the arrangement of the standard concerto format (fast-slow-fast). The lengths of the movements are approximately four minutes and fifteen seconds, two minutes and twenty-five seconds, and four minutes and ten seconds respectively. The total duration of Concertino is about eleven minutes.
"Concerto for Piano, Winds, and Percussion" is, as the title implies, a piece which features the solo piano in combination with an ensemble of winds and percussion. The instrumentation of the ensemble is two flutes; oboe; two Bb clarinets; Eb alto clarinet; Bb bass clarinet; bassoon; two Bb trumpets; two F horns; two trombones; baritone; tuba; and a percussion section of three players playing timpani, tambourine, xylophone, vibraphone, glockenspiel, chimes, triangle, suspended cymbal, snare drum, bass drum, two bongos, and small woodblock. The major sections of the piece are distinguished primarily by tempo. The fast-slow-fast arrangement of those sections aligns it with the traditional concerto format. The piece is in one movement and is approximately twelve and one-half minutes in duration.
Contours is scored for full wind ensemble and percussion, and is approximately nine minutes in length. The title refers to the way melodic shape or contour is used to create unity and variety in the piece. Contours is a single-movement work containing three sections that are unified by thematic and harmonic materials. The melodic material is generated by three twelve-tone rows, which are then used in combination with freely composed material. The first and last sections are highly contrapuntal and rhythmically disjunct. Both sections share common rhythmic and melodic patterns. These sections are contrasted with a slower and more lyric middle section. This section is made of a series of episodes that create an overall A-B-A structure.
This dissertation explores the analysis and creation of compositions from the standpoint of texture and momentum. It is comprised of four chapters. The first presents a number of concepts as tools for analysis, including textural typography and transformation, perception of time and psychological engagement of an audience, and respiration as a metaphor for musical momentum. The second and third chapters apply these tools to Gerard Grisey's "Periodes" and "Partiels," and Brian Ferneyhough's "Lemma-Icon-Epigram." The fourth explores specific methodologies used in composing my dissertation piece, "Phase," including the application of number systems ranging from formal to local levels.
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.
Pleroma is a digital drama: a work composed of digital animation combined with electroacoustic music, presenting an original dramatic narrative. Pleroma's dramatic elements evoke both the classical form of tragedy and the concept of perceptual paradox. A structural overview of the drama and its characters and a plot synopsis are given to provide context for the critical discussion. Analytical descriptions of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture Op.62 and Mahler's Symphony No. 9 are provided to give background on tragic form and Platonic allegory in music. An investigation into the elements discussed in the analysis of the instrumental works reveals several layers of possible interpretation in Pleroma. Dramatic elements allow for tragic narratives to be constructed, but they are complemented by character associations formed by pitch relationships, stylistic juxtapositions, and instrumentation. A copy of the dramatic text is included to supplement the multimedia production.
Pleroma is a digital drama: a work composed of digital animation combined with electroacoustic music, presenting an original dramatic narrative. Pleroma's dramatic elements evoke both the classical form of tragedy and the concept of perceptual paradox. A structural overview of the drama and its characters and a plot synopsis are given to provide context for the critical discussion. Analytical descriptions of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture Op.62 and Mahler's Symphony No. 9 are provided to give background on tragic form and Platonic allegory in music. An investigation into the elements discussed in the analysis of the instrumental works reveals several layers of possible interpretation in Pleroma. Dramatic elements allow for tragic narratives to be constructed, but they are complemented by character associations formed by pitch relationships, stylistic juxtapositions, and instrumentation. A copy of the dramatic text is included to supplement the multimedia production: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33228/
The Crucifixion, a composition for three vocal soloists, four-part mixed chorus, and instrumental ensemble, is a setting of passages taken from the four Gospels of the Holy Bible. It describes the mocking of Christ and includes the Seven Last Words of Christ on the cross. It uses serial technique in the structuring of pitches and rhythm. Special attention is paid in designing and combining pitch and rhythm to create monophonic, homophonic and polyphonic textures. Besides traditional performance techniques, the work employs some modern vocal and instrumental techniques.
Winter Landscape is an interactive composition for erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle), flute, piano, and Max/MSP interactive computer music system. The total duration of the piece is approximately 15 minutes. Winter Landscape serves to demonstrate one particular approach to exploring the possibilities afforded in an interactive paradigm within a cross-cultural context. The work is intended to convey my personality and identity as a contemporary Chinese composer through diverse cultural and musical influences drawn to this particular piece while creating a balance between traditional and modern sounds. The influences of Chinese philosophy (especially Chán) and the essence of Chinese traditional music play a prominent role as demonstrated in the formation of structures, expressions, and concept of Yun in the work; these influences also play a great role in determining the instrumentation and basic pitch structures of the work. However, this work is equally influenced by techniques and practices of modern Western classical music. These diverse influences hopefully have resulted in a unique work that truly does represent a cross-synthesis of these varying influences. In Winter Landscape, the interaction that takes place between the computer and the live musician is intended to reveal the responsive human/machine relationships. The computer constantly shifts its roles as a musical instrument, conductor, performer, and improviser to facilitate the sonic realization of the solemn, nebulous, and peaceful nature of Chán philosophy, thus exploring the cultural and musical potentials; meanwhile, the design of algorithmic structures simulate the modeling of human performance, enabling the computer with intellectual ability and musical expressivity as a decision-maker, resembling its counterpart-the live performer.
As Darkness Falls is a composition that explores our interaction with several aspects of darkness through the use of musical imagery. The imagery attempts to reflect the moods, feelings, and impressions of a person as he or she interacts with darkness. The non-programmatic character of the composition allows listeners to superimpose their own experiences onto the musical tapestry in order to manifest a personal connection between the listener and the music. As Darkness Falls is a composition scored for a minimum instrumentation of piccolo, 6 flutes, 3 oboes, 3 bassoons, 9 B-flat clarinets, B-flat bass clarinet, 2 E-flat alto saxophones, B-flat tenor saxophone, E-flat baritone saxophone, 4 B-flat trumpets, 4 horns in F, 3 tenor trombones, bass trombone, 2 euphoniums, 2 tubas, timpani, and 4 percussionists. The music consists of three movements (slow-slow-fast) lasting a total of approximately seventeen minutes. The duration of each of the three movements is six minutes, four and one-half minutes, and six and one-half minutes, respectively. The document also contains an analysis of the work by the composer. The analysis explores the compositional style of the work, focusing on musical aspects within each movement that were governing parameters in the compositional process.
In comparing oratorio traits across history, three aspects of oratorio were found to be particularly applicable to the creation of "Deborah: A Chamber Oratorio in One Act." These aspects were: the selection of topic and the creation or adaptation of text; the differences between recitative and aria, in form and function; and the level of stylistic diversity within a given work.
A Different Drummer is a chamber opera adaptation of Donald Davis's story "A Different Drummer" from his collection Listening for the Crack of Dawn, published by August House. The opera lasts about seventy minutes, and calls for a cast of three and an orchestra of sixteen players. It contains a prologue, epilogue and four scenes in a single act. The score is prefaced by a paper describing the musical strategies employed in setting the story as an opera. Three chapters describe the adaptation from short story to opera, the essential musical elements, and details of the application of the musical elements in each scene of the opera. The libretto is presented in the fourth chapter.
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.
Earth Ascending is a composition in three movements scored for female voice, electroacoustic music, and video. Composed in the Year 2000, Earth Ascending lasts approximately sixteen minutes and was created specifically for live performance in which all three elements combine to create a sonic and visual environment. As such, no single element has greater importance than any other, with each of the three performing forces assuming a foreground role at various times throughout the work. Earth Ascending is defined by a single poem written by contemporary female British poets Jeni Counzyn, Jehanne Mehta, and Cynthia Fuller. The movements are named according to the title of each poem: Earth-Body, Light-Body; Wringcliff Beach; and Pool. The movements are separated in performance by five seconds of silence and black on the video screen. The paper accompanying the score of Earth Ascending is divided into five chapters, each discussing in detail an element central to the composition itself. The Introduction presents background information, general ideas, and approaches undertaken when creating the work. Chapters 1 through 3 investigate in detail the content of the electroacoustic music, voice, and video. Chapter 4 discusses scoring techniques, revealing approaches and methods undertaken to solve issues relating to notation and ways of accurately representing sound, pitch, and rhythm within the context of a mixed media work. Chapter 5 presents information relevant to the live performance of the piece.
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.
Five Seasons is a musical work for flute and percussion. The flutist alternately performs on the C flute with a B foot, alto flute, piccolo, and bass flute in each movement. The percussionist also plays different instruments in each movement: the vibraphone for Mid-Summer; the xylophone for Fall; the woodblock, temple block, and cowbells for Spring; the glockenspiel for Summer; and the marimba for Winter. The five movements of this work - Mid-Summer, Fall, Spring, Summer, and Winter - are based on a combination of Eastern performing practices with Western instruments. The musical characteristics are based on the techniques of fifteenth-century (e.g., isorhythmic technique) and twentieth-century Western music.
This work is a setting of two poems by E.E. Cummings for chamber orchestra and mezzo-soprano soloist. The approximate durations of the first and second movements are respectively seven and one half, and six minutes. The music was inspired by the poetry and attempts to highlight the cyclic syntax which hallmarks Cummings' style. The first poem ("pity this busy monster, manunkind,") presents a sarcastic analysis of the progress of society. The compositional techniques used in the first movement involve elements of ostinato and fragmented motivic development to punctuate the penetrating message of the poem. The second movement ("these children singing in stone a") offers a marked contrast in texture and is a peaceful resolution to the agitated frustration of the first poem. Chromaticism is an essential element in defining the melodic and harmonic style. The vocal writing is largely declamatory and presents the vocalist with challenges of tessitura, intervallic complexity and extended technique.
Fractus I is a composition for trumpet in C and live electronic sound. The electronics were primarily created using SuperCollider, an environment and programming language for real time audio synthesis. This project investigates SuperCollider's pattern and task functionality as a means of supporting and enriching the compositional process. Fractus I develops several different code architectures in order to randomize as well as synchronize various musical elements. The piece exploits SuperCollider as both an audio synthesis tool and a performance conduit. Additionally, the nature of SuperCollider's patterns and tasks influences the form and content of the composition. The project underscores SuperCollider as a powerful, versatile and open-ended tool for musical composition and examines future directions and improvements.
The Full Armor of God is a musical composition based on the apostle Paul's comparison in Ephesians 6:10-20 between armor for physical combat and armor for spiritual warfare. The instrumentation consists of the following: oboe/English horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and bass. Texts on Roman armor as well as commentaries and sermons on the scriptures were consulted for the basis of the musical materials. The piece combines imagery and historical associations with abstract renderings of both the physical and the spiritual.
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.
My composition, Estruendos, is a work for large symphonic orchestra, guitar and computer-generated and processed sounds on CD. The work lasts 23 minutes and 45 seconds. My dissertation is composed of two parts: Part One comprises the analysis and Part Two comprises the score. Part One gives a brief background of my compositional dialect and aesthetics. It also includes a discussion of the compositional process and general overview of Estruendos. In addition, it illustrates the primary role the placement of sonic events in time and timbral structure play in the pathos of Estruendos.
The piece is a twenty minute work discoursing the integration and eventual dissolution of two separate musical strands. The pitch material of each strand is determined from synthetic scales whose intervalic content duplicates at the following intervals: Perfect 12th, Diminished 12th, Minor 9th, Perfect 8ve, and Major 7th. A proportional means of temporal compression is generated through the use of the factor, 11/15 (e.g. Event 2 is 11/15 the duration of Event 1). Various elements of jazz music informed the construction of plies, including the instrumentation of the ensemble and the means by which the performers interact throughout the piece. Internal cueing and performer decisions are meant to eliminate the need of a conductor in favor of increased interpretive freedom by the performers.
GranCloud is new application for the generation of real-time granular synthesis in the SuperCollider programming environment. Although the software was initially programmed for use in the interactive composition Creo, it was implemented as an independent program for use in any computer music project. GranCloud consists of a set of SuperCollider classes representing granular clouds and parameter objects defining control data for the synthesis. The software is very flexible, allowing users to create their own grain synthesis definitions and control parameters. Cloud objects encapsulate all of the control data and methods necessary to render virtually any type of granular synthesis. Parameter objects provide several simple methods for mapping grain parameters to complex changing data sets or to external data sources. GranCloud simplifies the complex task of generating granular synthesis, allowing composers to focus less on technological issues and more on musical considerations during the compositional process.
Haiku Seasons is a choral work that uses several haiku to portray moments in nature. Spread throughout the performance space, four choirs (SATB, 3/part) depict larger parts of the pastoral scene (i.e., mountains, the moon, etc.). Soloists depart from the choirs in order to perform solo, duo, trio, and quartet passages, which take place throughout the work. If enough singers are available, individual soloists may be used. The soloist groups display the more intimate moments of the scenes (i.e., sparrows, a blade of grass, etc.). The intent of Haiku Seasons is to create an image of nature isolated from human interaction. Thus, the image is a pastoral setting with many independent parts all coexisting in a relatively silent world. I combine aspects of tonality, time, space, and silence to create this image.
Heart of the Fathers is a programmatic, seven movement work for wind symphony depicting my ancestors and their role as part of the history of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The movements represent their spiritual experiences, labors, times of joy, persecution, migration, and finally their arrival and success in their new homeland. The piece is organized in seven movements. Each movement represents a different portion of history leading to the western migration of my ancestors. The programmatic music contains a variety of symbols depicting the experiences of the pioneers. In the paper, each chapter addresses an individual movement. For each movement, the following information is provided: the historical events that inspired the piece, the musical symbols that characterize the program, and an analysis of the function of the music.
The dissertation consists of two parts: (1) the essay and (2) the composition. The essay elucidates the composer's creative process of the orchestral works, The Heidegger Collection. The Heidegger Collection has five movements. The titles of each movement are derived from the key philosophical concepts from Heidegger's most significant writing, Being and Time: (1) State-of-Mind, (2) Idle-Talk, (3) Moment-of-Vision, (4) Dread, and (5) Being-towards-the-End. The essay discusses the meanings of the five concepts, and explains how I express my reaction to Heidegger's thinking through music composition. The essay also discusses the essential musical language of The Heidegger Collection, such as interval cycles, polyrhythmic patterns, algorithmic elements, portamento effects, chaos theory, and oriental influence.
House in Heaven is a theatrical piece for five solo voices (one soprano, two mezzo sopranos, one baritone, and one bass), two trumpets, four French horns, one trombone, two flutes, two clarinets, two bassoons, string orchestra, vibraphone, timpani and a synthesizer which produces pipe organ sound. The composition consists of an introduction followed by a single act in three Scenes. The piece employs the cyclical device in engaging themes associated with particular characters. The texture grows from simple alternating dialogues to arias and, finally, to tutti passages in which all voices are combined to form a quintet, at the climactic point of the entire composition, which occurs at the end of the piece. The scenes depict imaginary events in a Church and at a flower garden. Rear-stage slide projections are used to project the scenes of these locations, and lighting is used to emphasize actions, characters and changes of scene. The singers also serve as actors. The duration of this work is approximately 20 minutes.
The poetry of Sumer, inscribed in cuneiform script on clay tablets dating from 2000 B.C., is considered humanity's earliest written literature. Hymns To Inanna is a three-movement, mixed media work based on adapted English translations from ancient Sumerian text. The text is sung by SATB choir and musically illustrated by harp, flutes, percussion, and computer-generated sound (on tape). My musical setting displays these hymns not as a reflection of antiquity but as a timeless expression of spiritual thought. Certain elements of the composition evoke associations with early culture and music. These components, however, are transformed or merged with musical characteristics of other eras, idioms, and forms thus representing a conceptual and stylistic "bridge" between past, present, and future.
The dissertation is recorded computer music. It has a duration of fourteen minutes and fifty seven seconds. The source sound material is a reading of a sonnet of the same name by thirteenth century Sienese poet Cecco Angiolieri. It utilizes Linear Predictive Coding and Short-time-fourier synthesis in addition to postprocessing by spatialization and digital filtering. The discussion of the piece includes an explanation of the synthesis techniques, the pitch manipulation algorithms and the programs written by the composer to generate computer scores based on these algorithms, and finally how the individual musical events were generated and mixed together. The computer scores and programs used to generated these scores are provided after the discussion.
Images of Remembered Earth is a musical composition scored for full orchestra. The composition was inspired by Georgia O'Keeffe's painting, Light Coming on the Plains I (1917), which depicts a sunrise over a flat and empty landscape. In the painting, the expanse of the sun's rays is expressed through an even-blended transformation of color from goldish-blue at the light's source to progressively darker shades of blue near the edges of the canvas. The progression of color is interrupted by thin gold bands which sectionalize the sunrise into seven concentric arches. The construction of the musical composition derives musical materials directly from elements found within O'Keeffe's painting, specifically the shaping of structure, expansion, and color in arch patterns. Arch patterns, an integral element in O'Keeffe's painting, govern elements in the musical composition, including pitch selection, the overall tempo scheme, rhythmic activity, and formal shape. Pitch materials are expansive by design; this expansive quality is exhibited through the employment of wedge-shaped musical ideas and through the utilization of higher and lower registers. O'Keeffe's use of color in the painting influenced the orchestration of the music and is manifested in two ways: 1) gradual transformation of timbral colors and 2) the juxtaposition of contrasting instrumental groupings.
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