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Creating Musical Momentum: Textural and Timbral Sculpting with Intuitive Compositional Systems and Formal Design

Description: 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.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Robin, Bradley G.

Compositional approaches within new media paradigms.

Description: "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.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Oliveiro, Mark A

The Sound-Poetry of the Instability of Reality: Mimesis in Music, Literature, and Visual Art

Description: 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.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Underriner, Charles Francis

Ta/v\am: Real-time Audio/video Scrubbing Tools for Analysis of Multimedia and G®¡nd

Description: 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.
Date: May 2015
Creator: Tramte, Daniel Albert

“Sunken Monadnock”: a Composition for Flute, Clarinet, Bassoon, Violin, Violoncello, Electric Guitar, Piano, Percussion, Three Female Vocalists, and Computer

Description: 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.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Harris, Joshua Kimball

Sacred Symphony

Description: 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.
Date: August 1989
Creator: Lemieux, Glenn C. (Glenn Claude)

I, Blavatsky: A One-Act Opera

Description: 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.
Date: May 1990
Creator: Cooper, Steve, 1951 Dec. 4-

A Voice Crying in the Wilderness: An Opera Based on the Life of John the Baptist

Description: "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.
Date: August 1987
Creator: Irvin, Nat, 1951-

Archetypal Dreams

Description: 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
Date: August 1987
Creator: Hanson, Dan L.

Night of Glass

Description: 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.
Date: May 1988
Creator: Sanders, Gregory L. (Gregory Lynn)

Mysterium Cosmographicum, for Orchestra, Narrator/Actor, and Computer Music on Tape

Description: 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.
Date: December 1989
Creator: Keefe, Robert Michael

Vox Organalis

Description: 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.
Date: December 1989
Creator: Baczewski, Philip

Cenotaph: A Composition for Computer-Generated Sound

Description: 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.
Date: August 1990
Creator: Rogers, Rowell S. (Rowell Seldon)

Let Me Make it Simple for You

Description: 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.
Date: May 1990
Creator: Waschka, R., 1958-

Symphony No. 1 "Concertante"

Description: Symphony No. 1 "Concertante" is a work of approximately twenty-two minutes duration for chamber orchestra. The work is scored for flute (doubling piccolo), oboe (doubling English horn), B-flat clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, F horn, trombone, tuba, percussion, harp, piano (doubling celesta), solo violin, solo viola, solo cello, solo double bass, and strings.The percussion battery, which is to be played by one performer, includes three timpani, vibraphone, orchestra bells, xylophone, chimes, suspended cymbal, bass drum, snare drum, and two triangles. One group of instruments, including the eight winds, percussion, and the four solo strings, is treated primarily in a soloistic manner although it also functions as a part of the ensemble. The remaining group, piano, harp, and strings, functions primarily as an accompanying group although it does get some soloistic treatment. The work is in four movements, each of which uses the traditional symphonic form. Movement I is in sonata-allegro form, movement II a simple ternary "song" form, movement III a scherzo and trio, and the final movement is a theme and variations. These traditional forms apply only to thematic use and development, however, for the tonal scheme is developed in a broader design which unfolds throughout the course of the four movements. All important melodic ideas are based on the same pitch set that serves as the basis for the tonal scheme.
Date: August 1985
Creator: Ring, Gordon L. (Gordon Lee)

In Nomine Domini

Description: 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.
Date: August 1995
Creator: Crowley, Timothy R. (Timothy Robert)

Matador

Description: Matador is an opera scored for orchestra, mixed chorus and soloists (mezzosoprano, 3 tenors, 2 baritones). The work is in one act divided into two main sections. Each of these sections is divided into subsections. The libretto is aphoristic in nature and dictates the form of each of these subsections. The division into two parts also serves as a means to evoke a sense of hopelessness of emotions in the first and a transforming disposition that culminates in a jubilant song in the second.
Date: May 1998
Creator: Patino, Julio

S'I' Fosse Foco, Arderei'l Mondo

Description: The dissertation is recorded computer music. It has a duration of fourteen minutes and fifty seven seconds. The source sound material is a reading of a sonnet of the same name by thirteenth century Sienese poet Cecco Angiolieri. It utilizes Linear Predictive Coding and Short-time-fourier synthesis in addition to postprocessing by spatialization and digital filtering. The discussion of the piece includes an explanation of the synthesis techniques, the pitch manipulation algorithms and the programs written by the composer to generate computer scores based on these algorithms, and finally how the individual musical events were generated and mixed together. The computer scores and programs used to generated these scores are provided after the discussion.
Date: May 1993
Creator: De Lisa, Eugene, 1957-

Riders to the Sea

Description: Riders to the Sea is a chamber opera in one act of approximately 40 minutes in duration. The single act is divided into six scenes that progress without pause. The vocal parts are comprised of 2 sopranos, 1 mezzo-soprano, 1 baritone, and an off-stage chorus of men's voices (tenor I, tenor II, baritone, and bass; two per part). The orchestra will be comprised of winds (1-1-1-1-1), brass (2-2-1-1), strings (2-2-2-2-1), piano, 2 percussionists, and tape, that will be used to provide a continuous background of surf and wind sounds. Authentic Irish folk songs are threaded throughout the work, generally functioning as a background element, while twentieth-century compositional techniques are utilized primarily for special effects.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Carson, Michael, 1959-

Temporal Distortions: a Composition for Orchestra

Description: Temporal Distortions is 18-20 minutes in length and is written for an orchestra including 2 flutes (2nd flute doubling on piccolo), 2 oboes, 2 Bb clarinets, 2 bassoons, 2 horns, 2 trumpets, 2 trombones, timpani, 3 percussionists playing tri-toms, vibraphone, snare/tenor drum, medium suspended cymbal, Glockenspiel, bass drum, and large tam-tam; and multiple string parts for violin I a & b, violin II a & b, viola a & b, cello and double bass. Temporal Distortions was inspired by the theoretical concept of "wormholes" in space, where matter is warped through distorted passages connecting distant and diverse parts of the universe. The work is in three sections, connected without break. The first section, Space, emerges as a wide, expansive musical area where themes and gestures are freely presented. Gradually, these materials come into phase with one another, building to a climax. A transition follows, leading into the middle section, Wormholes, where the materials are frequently and suddenly transformed into other temporal elements. The third section, Comets, was inspired by the collision of the comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 with the planet Jupiter in July of 1993. Driving, underlying rhythms propel the thematic material through a series of statements which split into more and more substatements. This leads into a turbulent, explosive section and a final wormhole which returns to the opening material. Five basic temporal elements -- sustaining, aligned/non-repeating, aligned/repeating, non-aligned/repeating, and non-aligned/non-repeating -- are derived and demonstrated. Relationships between these elements are examined, and basic transformations are discussed. These elements serve as the basis for a theory of temporal analysis applicable to both metered and non-metered music. Chapter I presents this theory, and Chapter II discusses its application as a compositional method in Temporal Distortions.
Date: August 1995
Creator: Frank, Robert J., 1961-

I Never Saw Another Butterfly: A Composition for SATB Choir and Chamber Orchestra

Description: ...I never saw another butterfly... is a twelve movement chamber work scored for SATB choir, narrator, percussion I [vibraphone, and tomtoms (4)], percussion II [timpani (4), tam-tam, snare drum, and bass drum], guitar, violins I and II, viola, and cello and is based on the book of the same name. It contains a variety of compositional techniques, forms and genres.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Schneider, Gregory Alan

Symphony in Three Movements

Description: Symphony in Three movements is an orchestra work scored for two flutes, two oboes, two clarinets in Bb, two bassoons, two horns in F, three trumpets in Bb, three trombones, one tuba, percussion and strings. The percussion consists of timpani, vibraphone, temple block, tom-tom, suspended cymble, bass drum, and gong. The piece is not based on any non-musical image. The three movements of this work, I.(variation-like) II.(ternary) III.(fantasia-like), are based on the combination of the solemn ceremonial atmosphere of Korean music and early twentieth-century Western music.
Date: December 1994
Creator: Park, Ki-Seob

Transfantasies for Flauto Traverso, Computer Music, and Dance

Description: TransFantasies is an interdisciplinary composition for Baroque flute (flauto traverso), computer music, and dance. A crucial component of the work is an interactive hardware and software environment that provides the opportunity for the players to shape aspects of the work during the performance. This essay discusses the influences that inspired the work and presents an in-depth analysis of notable elements of the composition. Primary issues include compositional models for gesture-based composition, historical performance practices, interactivity, and relationships between music and dance. The final component of the essay details the software component designed to create the composition. It also discusses music technology in current practice and its role in this particular work. At its core, TransFantasies is concerned with those moments where computer-influenced decisions and human behaviors collide.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Fick, Jason

Fidget, Sway, and Swerve: Three Works Inspired By Movement From the Intricate Maneuvers Series

Description: Intricate Maneuvers is a series of musical works that were composed using movement as a model for compositional processes and forms. This essay presents in-depth analyses of three works from the series; Fidget, Sway: The Mildest Form of Falling, and Swerve for Chamber Ensemble. The analysis of each work highlights correlations between the musical characteristics of that work and the temporal, spatial, contextual, and psychological implications of the motion after which it was modeled. The third chapter also demonstrates the ways in which the creation of Sway was influenced by materials and processes taken from Ruth Crawford's String Quartet 1931. In order to investigate the question of how life experiences can function as models for compositional processes, the essay examines precedents for the compositional modeling of extra-musical ideas and images in the works of Bed?ich Smetana, Elliott Carter and Roger Reynolds. It also discusses approaches to modeling movement in music created for dance. Throughout the Intricate Maneuvers series, movement is modeled not merely to create an association between a musical work and a particular movement pattern, but rather to infuse the compositions with the dynamism that defines a particular kinetic experience.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Summar, Sarah Page