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Creating Musical Momentum: Textural and Timbral Sculpting with Intuitive Compositional Systems and Formal Design
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.
Tempered Confetti: Defining Instrumental Collage Music in Tempered Confetti and Venni, Viddi, --
This thesis explores collage music's formal elements in an attempt to better understand its various themes and apply them in a workable format. I explore the work of John Zorn; how time is perceived in acoustic collage music and the concept of "super tempo"; musical quotation and appropriation in acoustic collage music; the definition of acoustic collage music in relation to other acoustic collage works; and musical montages addressing the works of Charles Ives, Lucciano Berio, George Rochberg, and DJ Orange. The last part of this paper discusses the compositional process used in the works Tempered Confetti and Venni, Viddi, – and how all issues of composing acoustic collage music are addressed therein.
"Deborah": The Creation of a Chamber Oratorio in One Act
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.
Compositional approaches within new media paradigms.
"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.
The Sound-Poetry of the Instability of Reality: Mimesis in Music, Literature, and Visual Art
This paper uses the concept of mimesis to clarify the debate concerning the representation of reality in music. Specifically, this study defines the audio reality effect and the three main practices of realism as a way of understanding mimetic practices in multiple artistic media, in particular regarding the multimedia works of the "Landscape series." After addressing the historical debates concerning mimesis, this study develops a framework for the understanding of mimesis in sound by addressing the writings of Weiss, Baudrillard, Barthes, Deleuze, and Prendergast and by examining mimetic practices in 19th-century European painting and multimedia performance works. The audio reality effect is proposed as a meaningful translation of Roland Barthes' literary reality effect to the sonic realm. The main trends of realist practice are applied to electroacoustic music and soundscape composition using the works and writings of Emmerson, Truax, Wishart, Risset, Riddell, Smalley, Murray Schafer, Fischman, Young, and Field. Lastly, this study mimetically analyzes "2 seconds / b minor / wave" by Michael Pisaro and Taku Sugimoto and the works of the "Landscape series" in order to demonstrate the relevance of mimesis for understanding current musical practice.
Ta/v\am: Real-time Audio/video Scrubbing Tools for Analysis of Multimedia and G®¡nd
tA/v\Am (the Audio/Video Analysis Machine) is an interactive analysis engine optimized for audio/visual mediums, such as film, video games, and music. I designed tA/v\Am to allow users to pace the playback speed of videos containing sub-title style analytical text, without affecting the pitch content of the audio. The software affords writers the opportunity to display the relevant sensory data (i.e., analytical text and sound/visual media) more efficiently than the paper format. It also serves as a flexible medium; the writer may, for example, compress extensive text into a short amount of time, causing the reader to pause or slow down the rate of the video and thus suspending him/her in the sensorial moment which the writer describes. G®¡ND for Alto Saxophone, Percussion & Electronics is an exploration of the tipping point between signal and noise. Through tablature notation, MIR tools, granular synthesis, and the deconstruction of the saxophone, I have assembled a palette of inordinately contrasting sounds and threaded them together based on action profiles obtained by computer assisted analysis. With them, I have set varying physical conditions of friction that dictates whether the sonic energy is to become focused to one resonant point, or distributed equally/randomly throughout the spectrum as noise. In my critical essay, I use the software to analyze independent video games, showing how tA/v\Am is a highly appropriate tool for such analysis as it is an analogous medium. I then show the software's capabilities as a multimedia platform in analyzing acoustic music, as well as my own electroacoustic work, G®¡ND. In doing so, I advocate for a media-driven analyses, and maintain that one can communicate nuanced ideas using minimal verbal/textual explanation.
The Nothingness of Presence: Sound, Ritual, and Encounter in the Music of Into Your Hands
The ritual music written for the Compline service of the Liturgy of the Hours, Into Your Hands, is analyzed using an ontological and phenomenological approach, which seeks to answer how such sound/musical phenomena wed to the specific ritual dynamics of Compline in their own right can create a potential for encounter with the Divine. The Jewish philosopher Martin Buber’s understanding of encounter is used to show that the sound/musical phenomena in itself bears similarities with the nature of the Judeo/Christian God, and such a nature is revealed to be both irreducibly non-conceptual as well as an entity that establishes the ontological actuality of one’s being. Studies in the beginnings of humanity at large as well as the beginnings of the individual fetus reveal that an integrated expression of music and ritual can be said to have formed the impetus of such ontological beginnings through encounter. Therefore, one of the first sounds heard in the womb - that of water (or amniotic fluid) - constitutes what may be an archetypal sound of encounter. The phenomenological effects of such an archetype are analyzed in the music of Into Your Hands through topics such as the loss of aural perspective, immersion, dynamic swells, cyclic harmonic progressions, and simultaneity. Works of other composers who use similar techniques are discussed.
An Analysis of Du cristal…à la fumée by Kaija Saariaho and Axiom Unearthed, Original Composition
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.
“Before I Die…”: Original Composition with a Critical Essay Exploring the Techniques of Six Crossover Composers
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.
Violetting Through August’s End (Or the Sunset in Water, the Carillon-chime in Square): an Original Chamber Opera and a Critical Essay on the Trajectory of American Minimalist Opera
When the dust settles, John Adams’s Nixon in China and Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach may stand as the most important operas of the latter twentieth century. The critical essay portion of this thesis examines the trajectory of minimalist opera, from its beginnings with Glass’s Einstein on the Beach through the more romantic operas of John Adams, Steve Reich’s multimedia opera The Cave, David Lang’s musical-influenced The Difficulty of Crossing a Field, and finally the post-minimalist operas currently being staged by young composer Nico Muhly. It examines the differences between the more abstract trajectory established by the early Glass operas and the plot driven trajectory established by operas more commonly associated with John Adams, most significantly Nixon in China. Additionally, the aforementioned pieces are compared and contrasted with the author’s newly composed chamber opera Violetting through August’s End (or the sunset in water, the carillon-chime in square).
Innocents Abroad: The Love Story of Mark Twain and Olivia Langdon
Innocents Abroad, a musical for the stage, deals with events in the life of Mark Twain, 1867-1869, particularly his courtship of Olivia Langdon and his efforts to establish himself as a writer. It emphasizes his struggle to be true to his individuality and outspoken honesty while trying to win "Livy," the product of the society he satirized and often condemned. The book, based on actual events, contains much of Twain's humor and wisdom. The vocal score is written in a contemporary style, for various vocal combinations, including full chorus and includes piano accompaniments and chord symbols for guitar and bass.
Concerto for Piano, Winds, and Percussion
"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.
Promulgation An Original Musical Composition for Chamber Orchestra and Computer
Promulgation is an interactive composition in which the orchestra and computer communicate through musical motives contained in the Command Motive Score. The musical content as well as the highly organized aleatoric environment is controlled by a system of probabilities. The orchestra is divided into four ensembles of dissimilar instrumentation. The music consists of several scores that are performed different ways. The first score is the Command Motive Score performed by the computer. The second is the Prelude Score performed by the orchestra. The third is the Continuum Score performed by the orchestra. The fourth is a group of scores called Auxiliary Scores performed by each respective ensemble. The fifth is another group of four scores performed by trumpet, cello, piano, and tuba.
Songs of Praise
Songs of Praise is a setting of four passages from the Psalms for soprano and chamber orchestra. The text is taken from Psalms 96, 114, 55, and 116 of the New American Standard Version, with each psalm scored as a separate movement. The duration of the work is approximately seventeen and one-half minutes. The instrumentation includes soprano, oboe, strings, and a percussion section of four players incorporating fourteen different instruments. The musical language employed is largely tonal, consisting generally of shifting tonal emphases achieved by exploiting the pitch relationships of traditional tonality. The movements are contrasting in character, according to the text, but generally of the same style. The vocal line predominates throughout spanning two octaves and a minor third from an A below middle C to a high C above the treble clef.
White Dawn Streams
White Dawn Streams is a composition for orchestra with tape. The orchestra includes woodwinds (flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon), brass (horns(2), trumpets(2), trombone, tuba), percussion (timpani, bass drum, snare drum, tom-toms, timbales, temple blocks, suspended cymbal, triangle, xylophone), and strings. The tape was produced using a Synclavier digital synthesizer. The work consists of a single movement approximately eleven minutes in duration. The pitch materials in the work are derived from a single series of pitches and are used in a contrapuntal texture.
Susanna and the Elders: A One-Act Ballet in Three Scene
The ballet, based on the story of Susanna as found in the Apocrypha, is scored for chamber orchestra consisting of flute doubling piccolo, oboe, Bb clarinet, bassoon, horn in F, two Bb trumpets, trombone, piano, harp; two percussionists playing timpani, tambourine, xylophone, glockenspiel, chimes, small triangle, large triangle, small suspended cymbal, large suspended cymbal, two crash cymbals, antique cymbals, snare drum, piccolo snare drum, bass drum, bongos, three tom-toms, sleigh bells, large gong, temple blocks, bell tree, metal wind chimes; and a string quintet of two violins, viola, violoncello, and contrabass. The music consists of an overture lasting approximately three and one-half minutes, and three scenes lasting approximately eight and one-half, nine and one-half, and ten minutes respectively. The entire ballet is approximately thirty-one and one-half minutes in duration.
Mass
Mass is written for large mixed choruswind ensemble consisting of woodwind quartet (flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, and bassoon), brass quintet (two Bb trumpets, F horn, trombone, bass trombone), and recorded digital synthesizer. This setting of the Ordinary is in Latin and includes the Kyrie, Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus Dei. The duration of the work is approximately twenty-seven minutes.
Kinetico for Chamber Wind Ensemble
This single movement work is written for 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 3 clarinets in Bb, bass clarinet in Bb, 2 bassoons, alto saxophone in Eb, 2 horns in F, 2 trumpets in Bb, trombone, euphonium, tuba, contra bass, and 3 percussion. The approximate length is eight minutes. Both traditional and proportional systems of notation are employed. The entire piece is freely chromatic with some implications of whole tone and other nondiatonic scales. The harmonies are tertian yet have no functional tonal basis. Changing meters with asymmetrical divisions are used in all sections except C and E, which have time indications (in seconds) for each measure with subdivisions to aid the conductor. There are seven major formal divisions: A B transition C retransition A' D E.
Symphonic Portrait: The Patriarch
This is an analysis for Symphonic Portrait: The Patriarch, which is the first in a trilogy of works each depicting one of the Deities in the Holy Trinity. It is scored for symphonic band consisting of piccolo, two flutes, two oboes, E^b clarinet, three B^b clarinets, alto clarinet, bass clarinet, contrabass clarinet, two alto saxes, tenor sax, baritone sax, two bassoons, three B^b cornets, two B^b trumpets, four F horns, three trombones, euphoniums (div.), tubas (div.), string bass, timpani, eight percussionists playing bells, chimes, vibraphone, xylophone, marimba, snare drum, bass drum, three tom-toms (high, medium, low), suspended cymbal, crash cymbals, two tam-tams (large and medium), triangle, tambourine, vibra slap, steel plate, finger cymbals, bell tree, piano, harp, and organ. The music consists of two major parts; the scenario and the main body. Each part lasts six minutes, giving the work a total duration time of about twelve minutes.
Land of Dreams
LAND OF DREAMS is an opera in one act based on poems by the English poet William Blake. The work is for chamber orchestra, dancers, and an actor, as well as the vocal cast listed below. Cast of Characters Thomas Soprano The Father Baritone The Nurse Alto The Mother Mezzo Soprano The opera divides into eight sections with a total performance time of approximately forty minutes. Each section represents a different stylistic approach to the musical material. This juxtaposing of various styles is reflective of the eclectic nature of the text. The setting is England around 1800, the scene is a child's (Thomas) bedroom. All of the dramatic action takes place in this room in the various stages of the conscious (awake) and unconscious (asleep) states of the child's mind.
A New Song
A New Song is a sacred contata in four parts written for mixed chorus, soloists, narrator, congregation, and chamber ensemble consisting of organ, brass ensemble, and percussion. It is designed to be performed within the limitations of a church sanctuary. The text is taken from the New American Standard Version of the Bible. The four parts are based on prophecies found in the book of Isaiah and the fulfillment of these prophecies as found in the New Testament books of Matthew, Luke, and John. The texture and orchestration throughout the contata change according to the mood of the text. For practical performance purposes, vocal parts are based on traditional harmonic, melodic, and rhythmic patterns, leaving the more complex patterns to the instrumental parts.
The Sneetches
The Sneetches is a theater piece for children based on the Dr. Suess story The Sneetches (Random House, New York, 1961). It is scored for narrator, flute, B6 clarinet, bassoon, violins I & II, viola, and cello with optional staging. The staged version of The Sneetches requires two to six actors/dancers, appropriate scenery and props, and the active participation of children from the audience, preferably ages eight or under. The Sneetches is essentially through-composed. The overall form of the music is shaped primarily by the events portrayed in the narrative. Although individual subsections may have traditional forms, they should not be viewed as independent movements of a larger work, but rather as fragments of a whole.
"Eyre," a Three Movement Instrumental Work for Small Chamber Ensemble
"Eyre" is a composition of approximately sixteen minutes duration for an instrumental ensemble consisting of two flutes, oboe, B𝄭 clarinet, bassoon, guitar, and cello. It is inspired by a large seasonal lake basin in South Australia of the same name. The piece is divided into three movements; the first is fast and quasi sonata-allegro form without the recapitulation; the second is slow and through-composed; and the third, essentially the missing recapitulation from the first movement. Much of the motivic material for the piece is derived from the initial progression of triads. Harmonic and melodic development of this material contains some modal tendencies. While the overall effect tends toward equal weighting of the instrumental forces, there is some featuring of the guitar and an interplay between the woodwind and string instruments.
Three Ideas, a Collection of Three One-Act (Musical) Plays for Mixed Ensemble
Three Ideas is a collection of three one-act (musical) plays intended to be performed either as a series or as separate pieces. In order for them to be performable in either of those ways, they need some sort of unifying fabric running throughout the collection, yet they must remain individually strong enough to stand alone outside the context of the series and still seem complete. The concepts Tonal and Nagual, Bell's Theorem, and Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind were chosen because of their theatrical possibilities as well as their philosophical implications. All three of the concepts deal with an unknown, or at least unseen, force that has a strong influence (possibly control) over our actions and the actions of objects around us. This force could possibly radiate from within ourselves, or it could be completely outside us.
Forever's Silent Song for Chamber Orchestra and Mezzo-Soprano
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.
Hymns to Inanna
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.
Psalm 23
Psalm 23 is a sacred work in four movements, written for women's chorus (SSAA), a tenor solo and a chamber ensemble consisting of flute, oboe, trumpet, percussion, timpani, and string quartet. It is designed to be performed as a portion of a church service or in concert. The text, Psalm 23 from the Bible is sung in Chinese, and the verses of the Psalm are arranged as follows: Movement 1, Verse 1, General musical characteristics: pastoral; Movement 2, Verses 2-3, General musical characteristics: peaceful; Movement 3, Verses 4-5, General musical characteristics: agitated; Movement 4, Verse 6, General musical characteristics: majestic. The form, tonal structure and harmony of each movement are influenced by the characteristics of an original synthetic scale.
Kidrish Fields
Kidrish Fields, a pastoral fantasy, is scored for seven flutes, vibraphone, and cello. The duration of the work is eighteen minutes. The 62 pages which precede the musical score present a discussion and an analysis of the composition. The purpose of this project was to provide the composer an opportunity to apply polyphonic writing techniques within a score orchestrated for an ensemble of like instruments.
The Crucifixion
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.
Ka: a Composition for Chamber Orchestra in One Movement
Ka is a one movement composition for chamber orchestra consisting of three sections. The work's harmonic, melodic and rhythmic materials are derived from the Chinese I Ching ("Book of Changes"). The middle section was composed with the aid of a computer program written by the composer. The program generated the interval sequence arrays forming the harmonic basis for the piece. Ka is scored for flute, oboe, B𝄬 clarinet, bassoon, French Horn, trumpet, trombone, three percussionists, violin, viola, cello and double bass. The score is 62 pages with a 39 page analysis preceding the score. Ka has a duration of approximately 10 minutes with no pauses between sections.
Animations: A Composition for Percussion and Computer Music on Tape
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.
House in Heaven
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 Last Seven Words
The Last Seven Words is an orchestral piece with double woodwind, double brass, and two sets of timpani. The duration of the work is seventeen minutes. The forty-six pages which precede the musical score present a discussion and an analysis of the composition. The purpose of this project was to provide the composer an opportunity to write an orchestra piece with a single scale and seven rhythmic patterns.
Sinfonia
Sinfonia is a two movement work for chamber string orchestra and percussion consisting of at least five violins I, five violins II, five violas, five cellos, three string basses, and three percussionists playing timpani, two suspended cymbals, one small crash cymbal, 2 triangles, tambourine, woodblock, five temple blocks, snare, two tom-toms, 2 glockenspiels, xylophone, and chimes. The first movement is approximately nine minutes long, the second lasts five and one third minutes making a total of approximately fourteen minutes and twenty seconds.
Stellar Quintet: A Suite for Two Violins, Viola, Violoncello, and Harpsichord
Stellar Ouintet is a composition in five movements (Prologue, Allegro, "...Of Stars", Rondo, Epilogue) for two violins, viola, violoncello, and harpsichord. It makes extensive use of constellations , a term used in this work to denote arrangements of pitches in spatial notation. This method of notation is derived from actual astronomical constellations. The score makes use of both real and freely constructed constellations which are rotated around their own central axis. The score is 90 pages long with a 28 page analysis preceding the score. The work has a performance time of approximately 18-20 minutes
A Postcard from Cairo
A Postcard from Cairo is a chamber work for three performers (flute/soprano saxophone, vibraphone/conga, and electric guitar) supported by stereo tape and two digital sequencers. The musical content is a montage of Arabian, Indian, Spanish, and Moroccan ethnic music, combined with avant-garde sounds. The score reflects a mixture of traditional and contemporary elements featuring extensive use of improvisation and repetition. Each player is required to coordinate his responses in a variety of ways. Cues are governed by an analog clock, and pulses are provided by the tape/sequencer background.
Concertino for Tuba, Winds, and Percussion
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.
The Reflection
The Reflection is a piece of chamber music that describes the human nature through the use of different "meanings" in music. By using various leitmotifs and different compositional techniques, the music becomes a helpful tool to reflect meanings. On the other hand, this piece uses one special idea, which is that the whole piece can be explained in terms of visual arts. Each primary motive represents a "primary color" that reflects various "moods" or "emotions." Through using combinations and mixtures of color, different "sceneries" are formed. Furthermore, The Reflection has three basic aspects: the function of transmitting messages through music; the exploration of different functions of fifth; and the emphasis of meaning, sound effect and timbre.
Requiem for Netted Fish: An Intermedia Composition for Choir, Harp, and Dance
Requiem for Netted Fish is an intermedia composition for sixteen-voice SATB choir, harp, six dancers, slide projections, and lighting. The text, taken from the poetry of Anna Akhmatova and Carolyn Forche, presents a universal, womanly rage against human repression and destruction. The poetry finds aural interpretation in sound, and visual interpretation in movement and lighting. Poetic inspiration contributes to the integration of elements in the work, as does the impulse-exchange method of coordinating mediums, which allows the dancers control of the timing of events. The resultant interdependent relationships necessary for performance contribute to the integration of the composition. The duration of this intermedia work is approximately fifteen minutes.
Explorations: a Composition for Eighteen-Piece Jazz Ensemble
Explorations is a three-movement experimental work for eighteen-piece jazz ensemble consisting of the following instruments: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, two tenor saxophones, baritone saxophone, two trumpets, two flugelhorns, three trombones, bass trombone, electric guitar, vibraphone, contrabass, drums and piano. The duration of the work will approximate twelve minutes. The first movement features geometric configurations of spatially notated sound which emphasize percussive qualities of the ensemble (i.e. key clicks, tongue slaps, mouthpiece pops, etc.). Tone clusters of various pitch, texture and dynamics derived from blues scales provide the source material for the second movement. A slowly developing dynamic counterpoint creates the sound mass texture and delineates the form. Movement Three features a contrapuntal poly-metric collage of variations on a four-note theme. The collage provides the background fabric for an exchange of periodic and aperiodic events.
Two Movements from the Delphic Suite: A Composition for Orchestra
Delphic Suite is a composition for orchestra that depicts specific events narrated in Homer's epic tale, Odyssey. For the purpose of this thesis the second movement, Raid on Ismarus, has been omitted so as to focus on the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic structures of the first movement, Lament from Troy, and the third movement, Ruler of the Winds. Each of these musical parameters will be analyzed in order to illustrate the Suite's imitation of compositional techniques exemplified in the music of Homer's era, and the musical results obtained by juxtaposing those parameters upon a twentieth-century tonal scheme that provides the Suite with an eclectic ambience.
Symphonic Poem "New Life" for Orchestra and Yang-Chin
Symphonic Poem New Life is a composition in one movement for orchestra and yang-chin. The work is divided into six continuous sections. It is written in resultant form which is a cumulative process by which all major musical elements return at the end of the work. The tritone is the prominent interval used throughout the piece. Some graphic notation is also employed. The work has a performance time of approximately 13-15 minutes. The yang-chin is a Chinese string instrument similar to the Hungarian cymbalon, which is played with a pair of small beaters. These instruments have similar ranges, and either instrument can be used in this work.
Beneath the Dancing Moon: A Composition for Woodwind and Percussion Ensemble
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.
Concertino for Jazz Clarinet, Electric Viola and Symphonic Orchestra
Concertino for Jazz Clarinet. Electric viola and Symphonic Orchestra is a composition of approximately fifteen minutes' duration, and is scored for two flutes (second doubling piccolo), two oboes, two Bb clarinets, two bassoons, four F- horns, two Bb trumpets, three trombones (third bass), two percussionists, solo Bb clarinet, solo electric viola and strings. The piece is divided into two movements; Andante and Canon. Concepts derived from jazz music are employed in, for example, harmony and improvisation in the solo parts, whereas the orchestration is mainly traditional. The piece is written for two great Swedish instrumentalists; Putte Wickman, clarinet, and Henrik Frendin, viola. Stylistically this work is difficult in the orchestral parts, since it uses concepts from two different musical styles, jazz and classical. Influences originate from such wide-ranging composers as Mozart, Stravinsky, Shostakovich and Chick Corea.
For Unto Us…
For Unto Us is a one movement work for soprano and orchestra. The text, by the composer, describes the thoughts and feelings of Mary, the mother of Jesus, as she watches the crucifixion. Mary's process of faith is traced through the sequence of dramatic events which proceed and follow the crucifixion. The work explores symbolic instrumentation, juxtaposition of harmonic languages, and extended techniques for performance and notation. The setting of the text combines traditional operatic idioms with new elements in the music. The duration of this dramatic, quasi-operatic scene is approximately nine minutes.
Hailstones and Birdcages for Wind Ensemble
Hailstones and Birdcages is a composition of approximately thirteen minutes' duration and is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes and english horn, three Eb clarinets, E clarinete, bass clarinet, two bassoons, two Eb alto saxophones, Bb tenor saxophone, three Bb trumpets, four F horns, three trombones, euphonium, two tubas, and three percussionists. Four instruments--one each of flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, and trombone--are used in concertante like fashion, and there are prominent solo passages for the first bassoon, as well. The work is a single movement in three sections, fast - slow - fast, with ritornello. and employs a free use of the total chromatic. Technically, the work is within the capabilities of an above-average high school or average college wind ensemble
Critical Discussion of Pleroma: A Digital Drama and Its Relevance to Tragic Form in Music
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/
“Sunken Monadnock”: a Composition for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Violoncello, Electric Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Three Female Vocalists, and Computer
Sunken Monadnock is a scripted combination of three modular musical surfaces. The word “surface” is borrowed from Morton Feldman, who compared the aural surface of music to the canvases of the action painters of the American Abstract Expressionists, and contrasted it with the work’s subject, or organizational structure. Composers’ transition toward a focus on surface through indeterminate compositional techniques, according to Feldman, parallels the development of modernist abstract art. “Sunken Monadnock: Composing with Visual Metaphors” is a companion critical essay that takes the surface/subject metaphor as a starting point for analyzing Sunken Monadnock.Other visual metaphors that inspired Sunken Monadnock, and are discussed in the essay, include Shakir Hassan Al Said’s mystical semiotics, Jasper Johns’s crosshatch prints, and Wassily Kandinsky’s theory of abstraction. The circle and spiral, especially, play influential roles in Sunken Monadnock as reflected by musical applications of repetition, rotation, compression/rarefaction, and endlessness. The void in the circle’s center also comes into play. The nature of the work’s formal counterpoint requires an innovative approach to the score, which consists of five sections, each of which reflects a different approach to the aural surface (i.e., to the traversal of time). The two outer sections are traditionally scored, but the three sections in the middle—labeled “Surfaces” are played simultaneously by three subsets of the ensemble. The piece is approximately 22 minutes long.
Sacred Symphony
Sacred Symphony is a work for orchestra, chorus and 8 soloists. It is scored for three horns in F, three trumpets in B flat (1st doubling trumpet in C), tenor trombone, bass trombone, percussion, celesta, piano and strings. The percussion consists of suspended cymbal, glockenspiel, vibraphone, marimba, bass marimba, tenor drum, snare drum, bass drum, two slit drums (4 tom-toms if unavailable), small triangle, and finger cymbals. The work is in three movements: Sanctus, Beatitudes (Matt. 5: 3-12) and Gloria. The Sanctus primarily gives glory to God the Father while the Beatitudes are Christ's own words. The Gloria acts as a culmination of the previous two movements because it gives glory to both the Father and the Son.
I, Blavatsky: A One-Act Opera
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.