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A Performance Guide to the Dramatic, Vocal, and Musical Challenges of Judith Weir’s Opera, King Harald’s Saga

Description: Judith Weir (b. 1954) composed King Harald’s Saga: Grand Opera in Three Acts for Unaccompanied Solo Soprano Singing Eight Rôles (1979) for radio broadcast. She wrote the libretto for the opera based on Snorri Sturluson’s book, King Harald’s Saga. This opera illustrates Weir’s remarkable compositional style, including her treatment of the libretto in narrative style and her representation of multiple characters by one singer. Despite Weir’s fame as an opera composer, King Harald’s Saga is rarely performed owing to three major musical and performing challenges. These challenges are performer’s ability to delineate eight separate characters (dramatic challenges), to sing wide leaps and long melismas (vocal challenges), and to perform a cappella with wide leaps and complex rhythms (musical challenges). This dissertation presents a performance guide for the soprano addressing these three challenges and suggesting possible solutions. Such a guide will assist the soprano in preparing and performing this grand opera, which thus far has not received the due attention and appreciation of either performers or audiences.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Park, Sang Hee

The Combination of Eastern and Western Musical Worlds: Korean Performance Techniques Applied to Western Symphony Orchestra in Relation to Isang Yun’s Tänzerische Fantasie Für Großes Orchester, Muak (1987)

Description: Isang Yun employed several contrasting methods to achieve the combination of two different musical worlds, Eastern and Western, in his Tänzerische Fantasie für Großes Orchester, Muak. In presenting Eastern elements, he adopts Taoism as his musical philosophy, describes the Korean traditional dance motion Chun-Aeng-Mu (Dance of the Oriole), and applies Korean traditional performance practice in the use of Western instruments. Showing the influence of aspects of Western music, he employs a musical form similar to that of the Baroque Concerto Grosso, evokes Igor Stravinsky’s rhythmic mood and tension from Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rite of Spring), and even uses his own compositional technique Hauptklangtechnik within the format of Western orchestration. In its analysis of Muak, this research project addresses how Korean performance practice can be applied to the modern Western symphony orchestra. This research project also provides insights regarding the sounds of instruments in the Korean tradition and explains how it is possible to create those sounds with modern instruments in order to make Yun’s dream sounds possible. This study provides several examples and describes various performance techniques that appear in Korean traditional music. It provides indications to orchestras and conductors, assisting them to arrive at effective basic performance ideas for the performance of Muak.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Lo, MeeAh

An Analysis of Dominick Argento's "Peter Quince at the Clavier": the Music and Its Relationship to the Text

Description: Dominick Argento (b. 1927) occupies an important position among American composers. This thesis discusses his 1980 choral work Peter Quince at the Clavier: Sonatina for Mixed Chorus and Piano Concertante. On the surface, the choral and piano parts of this four movement work often sound dissimilar. To create unity within this composition, Argento utilizes a small number of generative elements that govern the pitch, intervallic, and rhythmic dimensions of the composition. This thesis also discusses the relationship between the music and the text, a poem by Wallace Stevens (1879-1955).
Date: August 1990
Creator: Gonzales, Cynthia I. (Cynthia Inez)

"Eyre," a Three Movement Instrumental Work for Small Chamber Ensemble

Description: "Eyre" is a composition of approximately sixteen minutes duration for an instrumental ensemble consisting of two flutes, oboe, B𝄭 clarinet, bassoon, guitar, and cello. It is inspired by a large seasonal lake basin in South Australia of the same name. The piece is divided into three movements; the first is fast and quasi sonata-allegro form without the recapitulation; the second is slow and through-composed; and the third, essentially the missing recapitulation from the first movement. Much of the motivic material for the piece is derived from the initial progression of triads. Harmonic and melodic development of this material contains some modal tendencies. While the overall effect tends toward equal weighting of the instrumental forces, there is some featuring of the guitar and an interplay between the woodwind and string instruments.
Date: May 1991
Creator: Hodges, Glen J. (Glen John)

Die Opernprobe by Albert Lortzing: a Critical Edition

Description: The purpose of the present edition of Albert Lortzing's Die Opernprobe is to restore and clarify the composer's original intentions, which were often obscured or altered by the first published version, which appeared in 1899. This thesis is divided into two parts. Part One contains an introduction which discusses Lortzing's place in the history of German opera, the details surrounding the composition of Die Opernprobe, the musical and dramatic structure of the opera, and the sources used in the preparation of this edition. Part Two consists of a critical edition of the orchestral score, with the complete text of the spoken dialogue and stage directions. Critical notes and an English translation of the full text are included in two appendixes.
Date: August 1990
Creator: McDaniel, Jan L. (Jan Lee)

The Traditional Bambuco in Nineteenth and Twentieth-Century Colombian Composition

Description: Disputes concerning the origin of the term bambuco persist among scholars in Colombia, as well as controversies regarding the process of notating the traditional bambuco (3/4 or 6/8), when it penetrates the written tradition of popular music. Composers writing popular and salon bambucos increasingly perceived the advantage of notating it in 6/8. This study investigates the traditional bambuco and its assimilation into nineteenth and twentieth-century cultivated tradition, with emphasis on piano pieces by representative Colombian composers of art music. I include specific analyses of Cuatro preguntas (ca. 1890) by Pedro Morales Pino (1863-1926), ChirimÍa y bambuco (1930) by Antonio MarÍa Valencia (1902-1952), Bambuco en si menor by Adolf o MejÍa (1905-1970), El bambuco by Manuel MarÍa Párraga (c. 1826-1895), and Trozos Nos. 6 and 158 (1927-1970) by Guillermo Uribe HolguÍn (1880-1971).
Date: August 1993
Creator: Martina, Aileen

The Last Seven Words

Description: 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.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Chong, Lok-Shing

The Reflection

Description: The Reflection is a piece of chamber music that describes the human nature through the use of different "meanings" in music. By using various leitmotifs and different compositional techniques, the music becomes a helpful tool to reflect meanings. On the other hand, this piece uses one special idea, which is that the whole piece can be explained in terms of visual arts. Each primary motive represents a "primary color" that reflects various "moods" or "emotions." Through using combinations and mixtures of color, different "sceneries" are formed. Furthermore, The Reflection has three basic aspects: the function of transmitting messages through music; the exploration of different functions of fifth; and the emphasis of meaning, sound effect and timbre.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Wu, Yuk Yee

Requiem for Netted Fish: An Intermedia Composition for Choir, Harp, and Dance

Description: Requiem for Netted Fish is an intermedia composition for sixteen-voice SATB choir, harp, six dancers, slide projections, and lighting. The text, taken from the poetry of Anna Akhmatova and Carolyn Forche, presents a universal, womanly rage against human repression and destruction. The poetry finds aural interpretation in sound, and visual interpretation in movement and lighting. Poetic inspiration contributes to the integration of elements in the work, as does the impulse-exchange method of coordinating mediums, which allows the dancers control of the timing of events. The resultant interdependent relationships necessary for performance contribute to the integration of the composition. The duration of this intermedia work is approximately fifteen minutes.
Date: December 1990
Creator: Hill, Jeanne E. (Jeanne Elizabeth)

Hartley Wood Day: Inventor of Numeral Notation and Adversary of Lowell Mason

Description: Ignorance of the basic principles of music reading was one of the primary obstacles to the improvement of congregational singing in nineteenth-century America. Six separate numeral notation systems arose to provide a simple way for the common man to learn the basic principles of music. Hartley Day developed his own numeral notation system and published six tune-books that enjoyed modest success in the New England area. This thesis examines Day's numeral notation system as it appeared in the Boston Numeral Harmony (1845), and the One-Line Psalmist (1849). It also studies Day's periodical, The Musical Visitor, in which he continually attacked Lowell Mason, possibly leading to Mason's dismissal as Superintendent of Music of Boston's public schools.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Carnes, Tara Barker

Band Directors and Hearing: Measuring School Bands for Potentially Hazardous Sound Levels

Description: This investigation sought to identify sound levels potentially harmful to directors' hearing, and examine the effects of band size, instrumentation, bandroom and playing ability on sound levels. The subjects were 2 elementary, 2 middle, and 4 high school bands, in 7 rooms, 10 to 66 members, and 26 students, beginning and advanced. A sound level meter was used. Sounds were measured in flat and A-weighted decibels. Sounds measured were steady state (>.5 sec.) and impulse (<.5 sec.). Results were compared with safety limits of OSHA, EPA and Baughn's study of safety limits (1966). Results show exceedences of limits used for comparison. Small rehearsal areas and younger players seemed to cause high levels in the tests. Further testing may prove potential hazards.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Samford, Brent R.

House in Heaven

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Gan, On C. (On Cally)

Ka: a Composition for Chamber Orchestra in One Movement

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Morgan, Christopher R. (Christopher Robert)

The Cantatas of Jean-Philippe Rameau

Description: By the early eighteenth century, French music was tangibly influenced by the Italian style which had already permeated much of Europe. The French Cantata is symptomatic of that often disparaged influx. The cantatas of Rameau are a significant contribution to an important form. Written almost entirely in the early years of the artist's career, they hold details of his stylistic development. In the present study of Rameau's cantatas several aspects of his style are discussed as they relate both to his theoretic writings and to the various influences of the time. Examples of those stylistic elements found in the cantatas are cited and discussed. There is, as well, a comparison of the works to the poetic form standardized by Rousseau.
Date: May 1991
Creator: McManus, Catherine

Symphonic Poem "New Life" for Orchestra and Yang-Chin

Description: Symphonic Poem New Life is a composition in one movement for orchestra and yang-chin. The work is divided into six continuous sections. It is written in resultant form which is a cumulative process by which all major musical elements return at the end of the work. The tritone is the prominent interval used throughout the piece. Some graphic notation is also employed. The work has a performance time of approximately 13-15 minutes. The yang-chin is a Chinese string instrument similar to the Hungarian cymbalon, which is played with a pair of small beaters. These instruments have similar ranges, and either instrument can be used in this work.
Date: May 1990
Creator: Leung, Chi Cheung

Explorations: a Composition for Eighteen-Piece Jazz Ensemble

Description: Explorations is a three-movement experimental work for eighteen-piece jazz ensemble consisting of the following instruments: soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, two tenor saxophones, baritone saxophone, two trumpets, two flugelhorns, three trombones, bass trombone, electric guitar, vibraphone, contrabass, drums and piano. The duration of the work will approximate twelve minutes. The first movement features geometric configurations of spatially notated sound which emphasize percussive qualities of the ensemble (i.e. key clicks, tongue slaps, mouthpiece pops, etc.). Tone clusters of various pitch, texture and dynamics derived from blues scales provide the source material for the second movement. A slowly developing dynamic counterpoint creates the sound mass texture and delineates the form. Movement Three features a contrapuntal poly-metric collage of variations on a four-note theme. The collage provides the background fabric for an exchange of periodic and aperiodic events.
Date: May 1992
Creator: Rudnick, Isidore L.

The Crucifixion

Description: 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.
Date: December 1993
Creator: Yang, Chuan-Tsing

Guilielmus Revealed: the Coherence, Dating, and Authorship of "De Preceptis Artis Musice"

Description: De preceptis is considered a major source of information on the origins of fauxbourdon, despite its being regarded as a disorganized compilation of multiple authorship, uncertain date, and unknown provenance. Internal cross-reference and writing mannerisms, however, show it to be a compilation of a single author's writings. Comparison of its pedagogical content to that of other theory treatises suggests that it was written c. 1500, not the accepted c. 1480. Evidence also indicates that Guillaume Garnier, a Flemish associate of Tinctoris and Gaffurius working in Italy, was its author. De preceptis ought to be considered a source, not for the origins of fauxbourdon, but for its reception-history, evidenced by the centrality of the parallel-consonance duet in Guilielmus's composition formulas, many of which resemble the frottola.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Hamrick, David (David Russell)

Two Movements from the Delphic Suite: A Composition for Orchestra

Description: Delphic Suite is a composition for orchestra that depicts specific events narrated in Homer's epic tale, Odyssey. For the purpose of this thesis the second movement, Raid on Ismarus, has been omitted so as to focus on the melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic structures of the first movement, Lament from Troy, and the third movement, Ruler of the Winds. Each of these musical parameters will be analyzed in order to illustrate the Suite's imitation of compositional techniques exemplified in the music of Homer's era, and the musical results obtained by juxtaposing those parameters upon a twentieth-century tonal scheme that provides the Suite with an eclectic ambience.
Date: December 1991
Creator: Walczyk, Kevin, 1964-

Animations: A Composition for Percussion and Computer Music on Tape

Description: 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.
Date: August 1993
Creator: Criswell, Madeleine L.

Beneath the Dancing Moon: A Composition for Woodwind and Percussion Ensemble

Description: 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.
Date: December 1992
Creator: Pang, Law Ma Rome Anne

Practices of English Diction for Singers 1900-1971

Description: Specialized training in English diction for singers became increasingly prevalent in the twentieth century. Along with this growth, a small but significant literature on the subject developed. There are divergent practices recommended for American singers, displayed by nine authors in ten books published between 1900 and 1971. A comparative study yields pedagogies of vowel and consonant production. Issues of sounds in context, including proper linkage and stress, adjustments from speech to song, and practices dictated by musical style, are paramount. The literature demonstrates an increased use of International Phonetic Alphabet symbols as a pedagogical tool. The areas of kinesiology and acoustical research are suggested for further study.
Date: August 1991
Creator: Barber, Carol H. (Carol Hansell)

Hailstones and Birdcages for Wind Ensemble

Description: Hailstones and Birdcages is a composition of approximately thirteen minutes' duration and is scored for two flutes and piccolo, two oboes and english horn, three Eb clarinets, E clarinete, bass clarinet, two bassoons, two Eb alto saxophones, Bb tenor saxophone, three Bb trumpets, four F horns, three trombones, euphonium, two tubas, and three percussionists. Four instruments--one each of flute, oboe, Bb clarinet, and trombone--are used in concertante like fashion, and there are prominent solo passages for the first bassoon, as well. The work is a single movement in three sections, fast - slow - fast, with ritornello. and employs a free use of the total chromatic. Technically, the work is within the capabilities of an above-average high school or average college wind ensemble
Date: August 1990
Creator: Anderson, Andrew E. (Andrew Edwin)

The Chaconne Bass as a Musical Topos in Mozart's Fantasia Music

Description: This thesis provides evidence that a particular "topos" from the high Baroque's exalted style, the so-called chaconne bass, made a profound impact on a considerable body of Mozart's compositions from the last ten years of his life in Vienna. After identifying the topos in the first chapter, a detailed study in chapter two shows how Mozart's faith in the extraordinary emotional power carried by this topos was enough for him to work it into all of the completed keyboard fantasias. Chapter three illustrates that an understanding of the chaconne bass and its unmistakable association with the fantasia style can shed new light on three of Mozart's most enigmatic compositions from his final period, K. 465, K. 491, and K. 527.
Date: August 1990
Creator: Spicer, Mark Stuart