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Postmodern Multiplicities in Three Original Works

Description: My recent compositions are situated within a postmodern theoretical framework. The heterogeneity of materials and hybridity of musical formation in these works are interpreted and contextualized within a personal reading of postmodern theories. The critical essay traces my aesthetics through a historical investigation into the definition of musical postmodernism. Through extensive citation and analysis of the writings of Julius T. Fraser, Italo Calvino, and Richard Rorty, the essay aims to provide a theoretical context for the interpretation of the musical examples. The creative documentation contains three newly-composed musical works: Piano Trio from Opus 3/c, Opus 6 for Violin, and Opus 7 for Piccolo. The works' postmodern features include creative approaches to the fragmentation of musical time into separate levels, historical allusions, and the exploration of multiplicity.
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Date: December 2017
Creator: Bejo, Ermir

Replenishment: A Musical Narrative Inspired by Sleep

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

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

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

"Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett

Description: Among the Voices Voiceless is a composition for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), viola, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics, based on the poem "What would I do without this world faceless incurious" by Samuel Beckett. The piece is a setting for disembodied voice: the vocal part exists solely in the electronics. Having no physical body, the voice is obscured as the point of empathy for the audience. In addition, instrumental solos compete for focus during the work's twenty minute duration. In passages including a soloist, the soloist functions simultaneously as antagonist and avatar to the disembodied voice. Spoken word recordings and electronic manipulation of instrumental material provides further layers of ambiguity. The companion critical essay "Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett proposes the distillation of Beckett's style into the elements of prosaicness, repetition, fragmentation, ambiguity, and symmetry. Discussions of Beckett's works such as Waiting for Godot and Molloy demonstrate these elements in his practice. This framework informs the examination of two other musical settings of Beckett's poetry: Neither by Morton Feldman and Odyssey by Roger Reynolds. Finally, these elements are used to analyze and elucidate the compositional decisions made in Among the Voices Voiceless.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Lyszczarz, Joseph E

Interactive Networks in "Forgotten Lyres": Critical Analysis and Original Composition

Description: Forgotten Lyres is a musical response to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Mutability, which depicts the fragility and unpredictable nature of human life. Four independent chamber ensembles make up the performing forces of Forgotten Lyres; the musicians evoke the topics of Shelley's text as they interact and coordinate with one another according to a variety of paradigms and without the use of a conductor. This essay focuses on the approaches to coordination within and between ensembles, and the ways in which the musicians' interactions can evoke and convey Shelley's texts. The essay also examines works by Mel Powell, Toru Takemitsu, Witold Lutoslawski, and Pierre Boulez as examples and precursors for the coordination strategies employed in Forgotten Lyres.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Harenda, Timothy

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recent Approaches to Real-Time Notation

Description: This paper discusses several compositions that use the computer screen to present music notation to performers. Three of these compositions, Law of Fives (2015), Polytera II (2016), and Terraformation (2016–17), employ strategies that allow the notation to change during the performance of the work as the product of composer-regulated algorithmic generation and performer interaction. New methodologies, implemented using Cycling74's Max software, facilitate performance of these works by allowing effective control of generation and on-screen display of notation; these include an application called VizScore, which delivers notation and conducts through it in real-time, and a development environment for real-time notation using the Bach extensions and graphical overlays around them. These tools support a concept of cartographic composition, in which a composer maps a range of potential behaviors that are mediated by human or algorithmic systems or some combination of the two. Notational variation in performance relies on computer algorithms that can both generate novel ideas and be subject to formal plans designed by the composer. This requires a broader discussion of the underlying algorithms and control mechanisms in the context of algorithmic art in general. Terraformation, for viola and computer, uses a model of the performer's physical actions to constrain the algorithmic generation of musical material displayed in on-screen notation. The resulting action-based on-screen notation system combines common practice notation with fingerboard tablature, color gradients, and abstract graphics. This hybrid model of dynamic notation puts unconventional demands on the performer; implications of this new performance practice are addressed, including behaviors, challenges, and freedoms of real-time notation.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Shafer, Seth N

The Soprano Role in Handel's Operas

Description: The purpose of this study is to give some insight into the soprano role in Hgndel's operas in comparison to the other roles. From a total of forty operas written, thirty-eight have been published and will be considered in this thesis. There is a complete analysis of each soprano role, but only a few outstanding arias are discussed in detail. The study of the soprano role is preceded by a chapter on Handel's career, styles,and his operas today.
Date: January 1954
Creator: Weir, Ida Elizabeth

A Composite Analytical Index of Articles Appearing in Selected Periodicals, Issued Between July 1937 and June 1947: Concerning Playing Problems of Wind and String Instruments

Description: For several decades since the rise of extensive instrumental music instruction, various music periodicals have devoted a certain amount of space to printing comments, suggestions, and other pedagogical material to aid the student in playing a particular instrument. The writer, in his belief in the value of this material, has chosen to make a survey of various periodicals and to catalog certain items as a reference guide to the location of significant articles.
Date: August 1947
Creator: Gray, Byron E. (Byron Earl)

An Appraisal of Six Series of Music Textbooks for Grades One, Two and Three

Description: The education program in America began with the self-contained classroom and is today gradually moving back to that concept. It is believed that more attention can be given to the interests, needs, and abilities of the pupil if he is allowed to remain in his home room with his teacher throughout the school day. This is especially true in the primary grades. In many cases the primary teachers have only the minimum requirement by law of six hours credit in music.9 Furthermore, it is known that many primary teachers have little or no supervision from a music specialist. It is with these facts in view that this tabulation is needed for aid in the appraisal and selection of textbooks available for the teaching of music in grades one, two and three.
Date: August 1953
Creator: Webb, Gladys H. (Gladys Heyser)

Teaching Syllabus for the Junior High School General Music Class

Description: To further the effectiveness of music in the schools, to create a more meaningful and enjoyable musical experience in the junior high school -- these are the ideals that prompted the writing of this thesis. The need for this work is set forth in three subordinate needs. First, there is need for uniformity in aspects of music to be taught at the junior high school level. Second is the need for emphasis on certain aspects of music which carry over into future life. Last to consider is the need for organization of material to insure the proper background or further music study.
Date: August 1949
Creator: Iles, Mary Ann Frank

Articulation of the Primary with the Secondary Instrumental Band Program in the Public Schools

Description: The purpose of this thesis is to acquaint future band and orchestra directors with a successful, thoroughly "tried and tested" plan of building an instrumental program within the music department. This thesis presents the technique of instrumentating the senior high school band by planning an instrumental program from the first grade to the time the band student reaches the senior high school level.
Date: August 1949
Creator: Olivadoti, Joseph, 1893-1977

A Digest of Published Opinions About the Teaching of Music Reading in the Elementary School

Description: Throughout the history of public school music in the United States, one of the problems which has continually been in the foreground is that of music reading, It is primarily a problem for the elementary school as that is the place where reading must begin in order for the children's interest and ability to be balanced. The elementary school is the focal point for the teaching of all skills and tools in learning. Certainly, reading is one of the major tools in the process of musical learning. In many cases the ability of the students to read music has been the basic criterion of the entire music program. Davison states that the aim and end of a large percentage of instruction has for so long been to train students to sing music at sight that it has grown to be a fetish. While such a standard as that is an over-emphasis of reading, most music educators will agree that the place of music reading in the elementary school is of utmost importance. The differences of opinions lie not so much in the goals to be reached as in the methods of reaching them. The purpose of this study is not to weigh these various methods as to their usefulness. It is rather to survey as many publications as possible concerning the teaching of music reading in the elementary school and to make a digest of the opinions found in them. In agreement with Mursell's statement that anything can be taught effectively in a considerable number of ways,2 it is the writer's belief that there is no one best method for teaching music reading. The desired outcome of this study is to present an adequate digest of the material published about various methods in order that these lines of thought may ...
Date: June 1950
Creator: Hill, Frankie Jean

A Statistical Investigation of the Phenomena of Absolute Tempo as Described by Hallock, Mursell and Others

Description: The problem of absolute or positive pitch has been studied by a considerable number of researchers. This cannot be said, however, for the problem of the element of tempo, or the normal speed of the true beat in music. The reason for this probably lies in the fact that absolute pitch can be measured quite accurately, for it is dependent upon the anatomy and physiology of the ear. On the other hand, a means whereby the innate pulse in music can be externalized so as to be capable of exact expression and measure in number, presents a challenge to those interested in further investigation of this phenomenon.
Date: August 1946
Creator: Glass, Barbara Jean

A Historical Survey of Psalm Settings from the Time of the Reformation Through Stravinsky's "Symphonie des Psaumes"

Description: Though perhaps we shall never know the music to which these religious lyrics were written, the poems have never ceased to be the source of inspiration for the spirits of men since they were first sung. Each psalm seems to have an underlying purpose with a personal message for each reader. In the Book one can find a reply to every sort of question, for the Psalms are filled with expressions of emotion brought about by all human experience. The collection of these 150 songs or psalms makes up what is known as the Hebrew hymn-book or the Book of Psalms.
Date: August 1947
Creator: Williamson, Virginia Sue

An Analysis of Twenty-Five Vocal Methods of the Twentieth Century

Description: The following study is designed to define the existing differences of opinion regarding the solution of vocal problems. Some twenty-five vocal methods have been examined with reference to the principles set forth on what are generally considered the most important vocal problems, viz., Breathing, Registers, Resonance, Tone and Interpretation.
Date: January 1949
Creator: Gardner, William H., 1918-

Television in Education: a Survey of Current Practices and a Consideration of Its Applicability to the Field of Music

Description: The use of television as an aid to music education is a relatively new and unexplored field. It is so new, in fact, that to undertake a study of what has been accomplished until the present may seem at first rather premature and unfruitful. It is my belief, however, that if television is to become the prominent factor in education that has been predicted, there is a definite need for a study of what has been done to date toward the development of this new medium. This will provide the background and foundation for further experiment and use. The study shall include, therefore, a brief history of television itself, general educational experiments in television, experiments in televised music education, problems involved in presenting musical television programs, and suggestions for the development of this newest of teaching aids.
Date: May 1950
Creator: Phillips, Hattie Lucile

The Transcendental Etudes of Sergei Liapunov

Description: Liapunov's Twelve Transcendental Etudes, although derivative in nature, have significant musical and technical value, and are sometimes strengthened by the inspiration of other composers' works. Neither highly creative nor original, LIaounov drew on forms and techniques supplied by the great pianist-composers of Western Europe, such as Schwann, Chopin, and Liszt. Not to be overlooked is the influence of his teacher and friend, Balakirev.
Date: August 1967
Creator: Smith, Ellan Louise