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 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.
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 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.
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 (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 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.
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.
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.
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, 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" 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 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 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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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, 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.
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 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 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.
"A Voice Crying In The Wilderness," an opera in two acts, is written for baritone soloist (John) and chorus with minor singing roles for two sopranos, mezzo soprano, tenor, a major speaking role for male falsetto voice, and three lesser speaking roles for tenor voices. Members of the chorus are required to play an assortment of percussion instruments and must be able to dance in contemporary modern dance styles. The opera is scored for large string orchestra, amplified solo viola, two electronic "digital" keyboards, and a large assortment of percussion instruments. (The keyboard scores were conceived using the "CZ-1" model digital synthesizer by Casio and the "KORG DW 8000" digital synthesizer.) The opera is divided into two acts and is approximately 80 minutes in duration. Each act consists of a combination of very broad scene complexes made up of dances, recitatives, choruses, instrumental interludes, arias, and rituals. There is a short intermission between the two acts.
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
Night of Glass is for chamber orchestra with an estimated performance time of 14 minutes. The instrumentation for the work, using one player per part, is Flute (also small glass wind chimes), Oboe (also 1 tuned water crystal), Clarinet in A (also small glass wind chimes), Bassoon (also 1 tuned water crystal), Horn in F (also 1 tuned water crystal), Trumpet in C (also 2 tuned water crystals), Percussion (Vibraphone, Glockenspiel, Chimes, Bell Tree, Hammered Dulcimer, 3 Suspended Cymbals, 1 Large Tam-tam, 4 Roto Toms, 3 Tympani), Piano, 1st Violin, 2nd Violin, Viola, Cello, and Double Bass, While not programmatic, the work is divided into six sections each expressing a predetermined emotional content: fragility, anxiety, solitude, fear, catharsis, and reconciliation. All are emotional contents which are found in the dream-state that is reflected in the work's title. All aspects of Night of Glass (i.e., pitch material, form structure, and structural density) are centered around the unifying factor of emotional projection within each section. The work seeks emotional content through the expansion of composition procedures while being accessible to listeners.
Mysterium Cosmographicum is a musical chronicle of an astronomy treatise by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler (1571-1630). Kepler's Mysterium cosmographicum (Tubingen, 1596), or "Secret of the Universe," was a means by which he justified the existence of the six planets discovered during his lifetime. Kepler, through flawless a priori reasoning, goes to great lengths to explain that the reason there are six and only six planets (Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn) is because God had placed one of the five regular solids (tetrahedron, cube, octa-, dodeca-, and icosahedron) around each orbiting body. Needless to say, the publication was not very successful, nor did it gain much comment from Kepler's peers, Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) and Tycho Brahe (1546-1601). But hidden within the Mysterium cosmographicum. almost like a new planet waiting to be discovered, is one of Kepler's three laws of planetary motion, a law that held true for planets discovered long after Kepler's life-time. Mysterium Cosmographicum is a monologue with music in three parts for orchestra, narrator/actor, and computer music on tape. All musical data structures ape generated via an interactive Pascal computer program that computes latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates For each of the nine planets as seen From a Fixed point on Earth For any given time Frame. These coordinates are then mapped onto selected musical parameters as determined by the composer. Whenever Kepler reads From his treatise or From a lecture or correspondence, the monologue is supported by orchestral planetary data generated From the exact place, date, and time oF the treatise, lecture, or correspondence. To the best oF my knowledge, Mysterium Cosmographicum is the First composition ever written that employs planetary data as a supporting chronology to action and monologue.
Vox Organalis is a concerto for organ and orchestra. It employs an ensemble comprising the compliment of wind, percussion, and string instruments normally available within a contemporary symphony orchestra with augmented brass and woodwind sections. It is intended to be performed with a large organ such as might be found in a symphony hall or large church. The work is in two movements, and its intended performance time is twenty-five minutes. Use of the concerto format within Vox organalis results in a new approach to organizing the interaction between the solo part and the orchestral accompaniment. The organ part is notated in traditional metered notation, but the orchestral notation is organized in units of clock time (seconds). The horizontal spatial arrangement of the orchestral notation corresponds to the timing of the metered organ part. Pitch organization in Vox Oraanalis is derived from a twelve-tone row based upon the natural harmonic series. Several techniques of serial composition were used to organize and select elements of the tone row for use in the construction of the work. Use of the tone row for horizontal and vertical pitch structures provides unity to the pitch organization of the work. Vox Organalis is constructed in 12 sections which help define the formal shape of the work. Four of these sections comprise Movement I, and eight are contained by Movement II. The length of the formal sections are based upon the series of natural harmonic numbers from which the tone row was derived.
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.
Discusses the creation and performance at a concert on Feb. 12, 1990, in the Merrill Ellis Intermedia Theater at the University of North Texas of three computer music-intermedia compositions: Shakespeare quartet for 4 acoustic guitars; A noite, porem, rangeu e quebrou, for instrument of low pitch range, tape and computer; and Help me remember, for performer, Synclavier, interactive MIDI computer music system and slides.
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.
A Wedding Ceremony is a composition of approximately 17 minutes in duration and is scored for horn in F, two trumpets in B-flat, trombone, two percussionists (timpani, roto toms, chimes, snare, triangle, suspended cymbal), 2-part boys choir, female soprano, and organ. The work consists of five parts of a mass, the Processional, Kyrie, Alleluia!, Hosanna!, and Recessional, with texted sections being taken from the Latin mass. The work is intended for a sacred wedding service of any denomination. The work was composed with the traditional aspects of the Latin mass in combination with a contemporary setting.
In Nomine Domini is an eighteen-minute composition for two chamber orchestras with two soloists using real-time interactive signal processing techniques. The first chamber orchestra is scored for flute (piccolo), English horn, trumpet in C, trombone, two percussionists (cowbells, wood blocks, tenor drum, suspended cymbal, gongs, tam-tam, temple blocks, tambourine, snare drum, timbales, and bass drum), horn in F (soloist), viola, and string bass. The second chamber orchestra is scored for oboe, clarinet in Bb (bass clarinet in Bb), bassoon, tuba, two percussionists (crotales, two marimbas, vibraphone, chimes, and tom-toms), piano (soloist), violin, and cello. Real-time interactive signal processing techniques are achieved through the use of a stereo multiple-effects signal processor and a personal computer running MIDI interactive software. The work is based upon the four-hundred and seventy-five year old in nomine composition tradition begun by John Taverner in the Benedictus of his Mass Gloria tibi Trinitas (1520) and continued in over one-hundred and fifty Renaissance settings. In Nomine Domini consists of three movements: "Taverner* derived from the Benedictus of the Mass Gloria tibi Trinitas (1520), "Byrd" derived from the Benedictus of William Byrd's Five-voice Mass (1592), and "Tye" derived from Christopher lye's In Nomine XIII "Trust" (1578). In Nomine Domini applies the English art of change ringing and three computer-assisted composition techniques: stochastic processes, fractal applications, and conditional probabilities.
Sona of Pi-Pa is a composition set to a poem to be performed by soprano and mixed instrumental ensemble. The formal plan is through-composed and the organization of each individual piece is largely determined by the structure of the poetic text. The text, drawn from Song of Pi-Pa by Po Chu-i, depicts the story of how the poet became overwhelmed by the chance hearing of a virtuosic performance of a woman playing the pi-pa. The general characteristics of the work reflect the assimilation of certain non-western musical and philosophical influences. Traditional western compositional techniques are also employed in the treatment of thematic materials, musical form, instrumentation, and the developmental process. The total performance time for this composition is approximately twenty-six minutes.
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