UNT Libraries - 21 Matching Results

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"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

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

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

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

Listening in the Living Room: The Pursuit of Authentic Spaces and Sound in Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) Do It Yourself (DIY) Punk

Description: In the Dallas/Fort Worth (DFW) do-it-yourself (DIY) punk scene, participants attempt to adhere to notions of authenticity that dictate whether a band, record label, performance venue, or individual are in compliance with punk philosophy. These guiding principles champion individual expression, contributions to one's community (scene), independence from the mainstream music industry and consumerism, and the celebration of amateurism and the idea that everyone should "do it yourself." While each city or scene has its own punk culture, participants draw on their perceptions of the historic legacy of punk and on experiences with contemporaries from around the world. For this thesis, I emphasize the significance of performance spaces and the sonic aesthetic of the music in enacting and reinforcing notions of punk authenticity. The live performance of music is perceived as the most authentic setting for punk music, and bands go to great lengths to recreate this soundscape in the recording studio. Bands achieve this sense of liveness by recording as a group, rather than individually for a polished studio sound mix, or by inviting friends and fans into the studio to help record a live show experience. House venues have been key to the development of the DFW scene with an emphasis on individual participation through hosting concerts in their homes. This creates a stronger sense of community in DIY punk performance. Through participation observation, interviews, analysis of source materials, as well as research in previous Punk scholarship, questions of authenticity, consumerism, and technology and sound studies, this thesis updates work on the experience of sound, listening, and the importance of space in DIY punk communities today.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Peters, Sean Louis

Looking through a Different Lens, Beyond Censorship: The American Reception of "Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District"

Description: The censorship of Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District is a familiar story to musicologists, but reception of the opera is not frequently mentioned. Examining the reception of a work can bring a work's relative importance into focus. In this thesis, German literary and reception theorist Hans Robert Jauss's model of the horizon of expectations is applied to reviews of American productions of Lady Macbeth. Curiosity about communism following the Great Depression in 1930s, America and American music critics' knowledge that Soviet composers worked for the Soviet regime led to the belief that Lady Macbeth was officially approved export from the Soviet Union. When the article condemning the opera as a Western formalism appeared in the Soviet magazine, Pravda, Americans needed to adjust their understanding of Lady Macbeth as a socialist expression. Following the work's revival in San Francisco in 1981, the influence of Solomon Volkov's Testimony is prevalent in many reviews. Many reviewers use Volkov's narrative of Shostakovich as covert dissident of the Soviet Union to assert that the censorship of the opera was about the content of the plot and not the music. Following the Soviet rejection of the work, American critics tried to claim Shostakovich for the West based on the values of individual freedom and feminism set forth in Lady Macbeth.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Cassell, Holly Kathleen

Modern Api Design and Physical Computing Techniques in Just Intonation Performance Practice

Description: approached previously by both Harry Partch and Ben Johnston, and proposes the decoupling of interface and sound production as a way forward. The design and implementation of a software instrument and a hardware prototype are described, both using a simple API for variable tuning instruments. The hardware prototype uses physical computing techniques to control the tuning of a string with a servo motor, while the software instrument exists entirely in a web browser. Finally, potential algorithms for clients of the API are presented, and the effectiveness of the hardware prototype is evaluated by measuring its pitch accuracy.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Sonnabaum, Mark

"Monolith: A Piece for Midi Piano, Mixed Sextet, and Fixed Electronics"

Description: Reference to a regular pulse is one of the most common ways of measuring time in music. As the basis for tempo, meter, subdivisions, and even formal symmetry, pulse, or the sonic articulation of regular units of time, is found throughout all levels of music. In this paper, I describe how I used a structure of twelve simultaneous pulses to compose "Monolith," a recent piece for MIDI piano, Pierrot ensemble, and fixed electronics. In the first chapter, I contextualize "Monolith" by briefly examining pulse's relationship to hierarchical structure in music and the possibilities for creativity in pulse-based hierarchical structures. In the second chapter, I analyze the use of pulse in Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," György Ligeti's "Self-portrait with Reich and Riley (with Chopin in the background), and Conlon Nancarrow's "Study No. 36 for Player Piano." In the third chapter, I describe in detail the relationship between the twelve-pulse structure and the various movements that comprise "Monolith," focusing on the relationship between compositional freedom and prescribed structure throughout the work.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Vaughn, Mark

Music as a Woven Narrative to an Absurd Tale in Act One of The Metamorphosis

Description: Act one of The Metamorphosis is based on the novella by Franza Kafka of the same title. In the writing of the act, George Benjamin's Into the Little Hill and Oliver Knussen's Where the Wild Things Are provide a model of using musical material as a storytelling device. Benjamin emphasizes the parallel nature of Crimp's text through the manipulation of similar music between the acts. Knussen uses form and color to emphasize Max's childlike energy and his desire to return home. In act one of The Metamorphosis these approaches are combined to enhance Kafka's absurd narrative through a rapid collage of texture and form that is influenced by both events and characters in the opera.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Poovey, Christopher A

Music on the Edge of Silence

Description: This paper presents a discussion of functional silence in contemporary classical music with a particular focus on the music of Salvatore Sciarrino and Jürg Frey, two composers whose drastically-contrasting bodies of work both occupy the interstitial space between the audible and inaudible. To begin, I address three main questions: what are the functions of silence in a musical context, how do the characteristics of a work affect our perception of these silences, and how do these functions relate to our perception of music on the edge of silence. In answering these first two questions, I discuss three categories of silence---temporal, spatial, and gestural---which I use in a silence-centric analyses of Sciarrino's Let me die before I wake, Allegoria della notte, and Infinito Nero, as well as Frey's Streichquarttet III. To further apply these concepts to music on the edge of silence, I provide a fourth category---timbral silence---which describes the perception of absence or silence within the presence of sound and allows for the application of existing functional principles of silence to sounding events. In turn, this allows us to understand the music of Sciarrino and Frey in terms of timbral completion and timbral dissolution, respectively. Having established a theoretical framework for understanding the function of silence, the second half of this paper discusses the composition of A Moment on the In-between, my 2018 work for string quartet, with a focus on the intentional application of these principles of functional silence within the piece.
Date: May 2018
Creator: Snow, Kyle G

The Natural Learning Process and Its Implications for Trombone Pedagogy

Description: This thesis considers the natural learning process as defined by Timothy Gallwey and Daniel Kohut. This learning theory is examined and applied to trombone pedagogy while also considering physiological attributes to trombone performance. a brief synopsis of the history and lineage of the trombone is considered in order to understand the current setting of the trombone medium.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Reider, Shane Robert

Negotiating Decades of Change in America: The Houston Chinese Traditional Music Group

Description: For over two hundred years, Chinese immigrants have brought ancient customs and musical traditions to their new homes in America. As in many immigrant communities, a new heritage that embodies and exhibits both the quintessential features of American culture and genuine Chinese heritage have come together to form new expressive cultures that are uniquely "Chinese American." As the youngest of the major American Chinese immigrant centers, the city of Houston, Texas provides an exemplary example of a distinct cultural cohesion that, in part, resulted from significant cultural and political upheavals in the latter half of the twentieth century. During this era of political unrest, many Chinese people's attitudes towards their traditional culture changed drastically. The Houston Chinese Traditional Music Group (HCTMG) is a Chinese orchestra comprised of amateur and professional musicians ranging in age from 13 to over 60 years old. Performing regularly for the Chinese immigrant population in Houston, HCTMG's take on traditional Chinese music deviates greatly from that of older, more established immigrant communities on the East and West Coasts and in some parts of mainland China. Via participant observation, interviews, and analysis of source materials, this paper examines how changing political and economic climates in China during the 1960s to the 1990s—when the majority of HCTMG musicians lived in China –are reflected in the musical decisions of HCTMG and the greater Houston Chinese immigrant community at large.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Mei, Yuxin

Nihilism and the Formulation of a Philosophy of Art

Description: Nihilism is often associated with feelings of despair, hopelessness and meaningless. It is certainly true that once the implications of this philosophy become apparent that these feelings are valid. However, this reaction is merely the first stage of dealing with nihilism and stopping here fails to examine the various types of nihilism that deal specifically with knowledge, ethics, metaphysics, truth, and art. Nihilism at its base is a philosophy that recognizes the history of human thought and what it means to be and to think. My focus is the way in which a completed nihilism is in fact an emancipatory act and the implications it has for art and the artist in the 21st century.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Hernandez, Brian

A Pattern Oriented Data Structure for Interactive Computer Music

Description: This essay describes a pattern oriented data structure, or PODS, as a system for storing computer music data. It organizes input by sequences or patterns that recur, while extensively interlinking the data. The interlinking process emulates cognitive models, while the pattern processing draws specifically from music cognition. The project aims at creating open source external objects for the Max/MSP software environment. The computer code for this project is in the C and Objective-C computer programming languages.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Lockhart, Adam

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

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

Replenishment: A Musical Narrative Inspired by Sleep

Description: The Replenishment cycle contains five works that allude to the experience of sleep, beginning with awake drowsiness and ending with the piece inspired by rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, titled Conceiving Realities. This last piece is an intermedia work composed for chamber ensemble, live painting with biofeedback, computer, and audiovisual processing. This critical essay describes the composition of Conceiving Realities within the context of the Replenishment cycle, followed by a thorough analysis of the research involved in the technological aspects of the piece, and finally, a description of the instrumentation, notation, intermedia elements, and technology comprising the work. Conceiving Realities uses a system of interactions between painting, biofeedback, music, and video, in which a painter wears brainwave and heartbeat sensors that send data to a computer patch processing the sound of an ensemble as the painter listens and creates the painting while responding to the music. This requires a passive biofeedback system in which the painter is focused on listening and painting. The computer uses the data to process existing sounds, instead of synthesizing new lines. The score blends elements of traditional notation, graphics, and guided improvisation; giving the performers some creative agency. This alludes to the way in which scenarios in dreams occur without voluntary control of the dreamer. Finally, a camera captures the painting and projects three video screens applying individual types of processing to the original video stream, controlled in real time by the amplitude of the ensemble. All these elements create an immersive experience for the audience that is mediated by the interaction of sight and sound.
Date: December 2017
Creator: Espinel Pulgar, Miguel Angel

Reviewing Commercial Music Resources: a Guide for Aspiring Singers and Vocal Professionals

Description: Contemporary commercial music is a broad label used to describe the styles of popular music including pop, rock, rhythm and blues, jazz, hip-hop, country and heavy metal. the vocal ability required for each of these genres varies greatly but may require the use of screaming, belting, utilizing vocal fry and growling or singing with a breathy or dark tone. Singers who wish to perform in these genres may need assistance with vocal technique to assure the longevity and the quality of their singing. Due to the rise in popularity and the accessibility of contemporary commercial music (CCM), commercial pedagogical guides and self-study manuals are abundantly available for purchase. Aspiring singers are searching for appropriate training for this genre without having an awareness of how the voice works and how to maintain good vocal hygiene. Those who seek out private instruction are often frustrated when traditional classical training techniques are offered, rather than techniques utilizing CCM styles. Because CCM pedagogy is relatively new and few pedagogues in this specialized field are well known, the self-taught singer is responsible for finding a reliable study source. Many vocal instructors and choral directors are interested in familiarizing themselves with new stylistic techniques to enhance the performance of their students while maintaining vocal health. By reviewing popular vocal method books and techniques, insight may be given to assist a singer or vocal teacher in selecting resources of CCM styles.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Hanlon, Susan Christina

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.

Searching for Songs of the People: The Ideology of the Composers' Collective and Its Musical Implications

Description: The Composers' Collective, founded by leftist composers in 1932 New York City, sought to create proletarian music that avoided the "bourgeois" traditions of the past and functioned as a vehicle to engage Americans in political dialogue. The Collective aimed to understand how the modern composer became isolated from his public, and discussions on the relationship between music and society pervade the radical writings of Marc Blitzstein, Charles Seeger, and Elie Siegmeister, three of the organization's most vocal members. This new proletarian music juxtaposed revolutionary text with avant-garde musical idioms that were incorporated in increasingly greater quantities; thus, composers progressively acclimated the listener to the dissonance of modern music, a distinctive sound that the Collective hoped would become associated with revolutionary ideals. The mass songs of the two Workers' Song Books published by the Collective, illustrate the transitional phase of the musical implementation of their ideology. In contrast, a case study of the song "Chinaman! Laundryman!" by Ruth Crawford Seeger, a fringe member of the Collective, suggests that this song belongs within the final stage of proletarian music, where the text and highly modernist music seamlessly interact to create what Charles Seeger called an "art-product of the highest type."
Date: May 2018
Creator: Chaplin-Kyzer, Abigail