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Dream of a Thousand Keys: A Concerto for Piano and Orchestra

Description: Dream of a Thousand Keys is a concerto for piano and orchestra, which consists of four movements presenting multiple dimensional meanings as suggested by the word "key." I trace the derivation of Korean traditional rhythmic cycles and numerical sequences, such as the Fibonacci series, that are used throughout the work, and explore the significant role of space between the soloist and piano that are emphasized in a theatrical aspect of the composition. The essay addresses the question of musical contrasts, similarities, and metamorphosis. Lastly, I cover terms and concepts of significant 21st-century compositional techniques that come into play in the analysis of this work.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Choi, Da Jeong

Critical Discussion of Pleroma: A Digital Drama and Its Relevance to Tragic Form in Music

Description: Pleroma is a digital drama: a work composed of digital animation combined with electroacoustic music, presenting an original dramatic narrative. Pleroma's dramatic elements evoke both the classical form of tragedy and the concept of perceptual paradox. A structural overview of the drama and its characters and a plot synopsis are given to provide context for the critical discussion. Analytical descriptions of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture Op.62 and Mahler's Symphony No. 9 are provided to give background on tragic form and Platonic allegory in music. An investigation into the elements discussed in the analysis of the instrumental works reveals several layers of possible interpretation in Pleroma. Dramatic elements allow for tragic narratives to be constructed, but they are complemented by character associations formed by pitch relationships, stylistic juxtapositions, and instrumentation. A copy of the dramatic text is included to supplement the multimedia production.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Lucas, Stephen

Critical Discussion of Pleroma: A Digital Drama and Its Relevance to Tragic Form in Music

Description: Pleroma is a digital drama: a work composed of digital animation combined with electroacoustic music, presenting an original dramatic narrative. Pleroma's dramatic elements evoke both the classical form of tragedy and the concept of perceptual paradox. A structural overview of the drama and its characters and a plot synopsis are given to provide context for the critical discussion. Analytical descriptions of Beethoven's Coriolan Overture Op.62 and Mahler's Symphony No. 9 are provided to give background on tragic form and Platonic allegory in music. An investigation into the elements discussed in the analysis of the instrumental works reveals several layers of possible interpretation in Pleroma. Dramatic elements allow for tragic narratives to be constructed, but they are complemented by character associations formed by pitch relationships, stylistic juxtapositions, and instrumentation. A copy of the dramatic text is included to supplement the multimedia production: http://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc33228/
Date: December 2010
Creator: Lucas, Stephen

Source-bonding as a Variable in Electroacoustic Composition: Faktura and Acoustics in Understatements

Description: Understatements for two-channel fixed media is a four-movement study of the sonic potential of acoustic instruments within the practice of electroacoustic studio composition. The musical identity of the entire composition is achieved through consistent approaches to disparate instrumental materials and a focused investigation of the relationships between the various acoustic timbres and their electroacoustic treatments. The analytical section of this paper builds on contemporary research in electroacoustic arts. The analysis of the work is preceded by a summary of theoretical and aesthetic approaches within electroacoustic composition and the introduction of primary criteria of sonic faktura (material essence) used in the compositional process. The analyses address the idiosyncratic use of the concept of faktura to contextualize and guide the unfolding of the work. The reconciliation of the illusory electronic textures and the acoustic sources that parented them may be considered the ultimate goal of Understatements.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Rostovtsev, Ilya Y.

Aesthetic and Technical Analysis on Soar!

Description: Soar! is a musical composition written for wind ensemble and computer music. The total duration of the work is approximately 10 minutes. Flocking behavior of migratory birds serves as the most prominent influence on the imagery and local structure of the composition. The cyclical nature of the birds' journey inspires palindromic designs in the temporal domain. Aesthetically, Soar! portrays the fluid shapes of the flocks with numerous grains in the sounds. This effect is achieved by giving individual parts high degree of independence, especially in regards to rhythm. Technically, Soar! explores various interactions among instrumental lines in a wind ensemble, constructs overarching symmetrical structures, and integrates a large ensemble with computer music. The conductor acts as the leader at several improvisational moments in Soar! The use of conductor-initiated musical events in the piece can be traced back through the historic lineage of aleatoric compositions since the middle of the twentieth century. [Score is on p. 54-92.]
Date: August 2010
Creator: Wang, Hsiao-Lan

Characterizing Noise and Harmonicity: The Structural Function of Contrasting Sonic Components in Electronic Composition

Description: This dissertation examines the role of noise in shaping the form of several recent musical compositions. This study demonstrates how the contrast of noisy sounds and harmonic sounds can impact the structure of compositions. Depending on context, however, the specific use and function of noise can vary substantially from one work to the next. The first portion of this paper describes methods for quantifying noise content using FFT analysis procedures. A number of tests on instrumental and synthetic sound sources are described in order to demonstrate how the analysis system may react to certain sounds. The second part of this document consists of several analyses of whole musical works. Works for acoustic instruments are examined first, followed by works for electronic media. During these analyses, it becomes clear that while the use of noise in each work is based largely upon context, some common patterns do exist across different works. The final portion of the paper examines an original work which was written with the function of noise specifically in mind. The original work is put through the same analysis procedures as works seen earlier in the paper, and some conclusions are drawn regarding both the possibilities and limitations of noise analysis as a compositional tool.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Dribus, John Alexander

The Creative Process in Cross-Influential Composition

Description: This dissertation describes a compositional model rooted in cross-influential methodology between complementary musical compositions that share generative source material. In their simultaneous construction, two composition pairs presented challenges that influenced and mediated the other's development with respect to timbre, transposition, pitch material, effects processing, and form. A working prototype first provides a model that is later developed. The first work Thema is for piano alone, and the companion piece Am3ht is for piano and live computer processing via the graphical programming environment Max/MSP. Compositional processes used in the prototype solidify the cross-influential model, demanding flexibility and a dialectic approach. Ideas set forth in the prototype are then explored through a second pair of compositions rooted in cross-influential methodology. The first work Lusmore is scored for solo contrabass and Max/MSP. The second composition Knockgrafton is scored for string orchestra. The flexibility of the cross-influential model is revealed more fully through a discussion of each work's musical development. The utility of the cross-influential compositional model is discussed, particularly within higher academia.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Anderson, Jonathan Douglas

Fractus I for Trumpet in C and Electronic Sound: A Critical Examination of the Compositional Process

Description: Fractus I is a composition for trumpet in C and live electronic sound. The electronics were primarily created using SuperCollider, an environment and programming language for real time audio synthesis. This project investigates SuperCollider's pattern and task functionality as a means of supporting and enriching the compositional process. Fractus I develops several different code architectures in order to randomize as well as synchronize various musical elements. The piece exploits SuperCollider as both an audio synthesis tool and a performance conduit. Additionally, the nature of SuperCollider's patterns and tasks influences the form and content of the composition. The project underscores SuperCollider as a powerful, versatile and open-ended tool for musical composition and examines future directions and improvements.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Fieldsteel, Eli Mulvey

This Creature, Bride of Christ

Description: This Creature, Bride of Christ is a composition for soprano, alto flute, viola, marimba, and computer running custom software for live interactive performance in the Max/MSP environment. The work is a setting of excerpts from The Book of Margery Kempe, an early autobiographical manuscript depicting the life of a Christian mystic. The thesis discusses the historical, sociological, and musical context of the text and its musical setting; the use of borrowed materials from music of John Dunstable, Richard Wagner, and the tradition of change ringing; and the technologies used to realize the computer accompaniment. A score of the work is also included in the appendix.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Bober, Nicholas Bradburn

Cultural and Technical Perspectives on Winter Landscape

Description: Winter Landscape is an interactive composition for erhu (Chinese two-stringed fiddle), flute, piano, and Max/MSP interactive computer music system. The total duration of the piece is approximately 15 minutes. Winter Landscape serves to demonstrate one particular approach to exploring the possibilities afforded in an interactive paradigm within a cross-cultural context. The work is intended to convey my personality and identity as a contemporary Chinese composer through diverse cultural and musical influences drawn to this particular piece while creating a balance between traditional and modern sounds. The influences of Chinese philosophy (especially Chán) and the essence of Chinese traditional music play a prominent role as demonstrated in the formation of structures, expressions, and concept of Yun in the work; these influences also play a great role in determining the instrumentation and basic pitch structures of the work. However, this work is equally influenced by techniques and practices of modern Western classical music. These diverse influences hopefully have resulted in a unique work that truly does represent a cross-synthesis of these varying influences. In Winter Landscape, the interaction that takes place between the computer and the live musician is intended to reveal the responsive human/machine relationships. The computer constantly shifts its roles as a musical instrument, conductor, performer, and improviser to facilitate the sonic realization of the solemn, nebulous, and peaceful nature of Chán philosophy, thus exploring the cultural and musical potentials; meanwhile, the design of algorithmic structures simulate the modeling of human performance, enabling the computer with intellectual ability and musical expressivity as a decision-maker, resembling its counterpart-the live performer.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Wang, Jing

GranCloud: A real-time granular synthesis application and its implementation in the interactive composition Creo.

Description: GranCloud is new application for the generation of real-time granular synthesis in the SuperCollider programming environment. Although the software was initially programmed for use in the interactive composition Creo, it was implemented as an independent program for use in any computer music project. GranCloud consists of a set of SuperCollider classes representing granular clouds and parameter objects defining control data for the synthesis. The software is very flexible, allowing users to create their own grain synthesis definitions and control parameters. Cloud objects encapsulate all of the control data and methods necessary to render virtually any type of granular synthesis. Parameter objects provide several simple methods for mapping grain parameters to complex changing data sets or to external data sources. GranCloud simplifies the complex task of generating granular synthesis, allowing composers to focus less on technological issues and more on musical considerations during the compositional process.
Date: December 2009
Creator: Lee, Terry Alan

Rete Mirabile: An Installation

Description: Rete Mirabile is my new installation piece combining scientific principles with live computer generated music. The title is a Latin term meaning "Wonderful Net," which I use to refer to the highly convoluted network of biological data that drives my installation. The sonification of data, computer modeling of biological processes, kinetic sculptures, and user interactivity are central parts of the installation. The paper is organized as follows: First, brief history of the forerunners that inspired my work is given. This includes a short discussion on how John Cage and David Tudor influenced current artists works, and how those works have influenced my own work. Then I review current installation works that share similarities with my own. Finally, a detailed discussion and analysis of the construction and function concludes the paper.
Date: August 2009
Creator: Rivera, Philip Andrew

Augeries, for Flute, Clarinet, Percussion and Tape: Aesthetic Discussion and Theoretical Analysis

Description: Augeries is a multi-channel electro-acoustic composition for flute, clarinet, percussion, and tape. It is intended to be diffused through an 8-channnel playback system. Inspired by the first four lines of William Blake's Augeries of Innocence, Augeries captures the qualitative aspects of Blake's poetry by presenting the listener with an equally aperspectival aesthetic experience. The small-scale structure reflected on the large-scale form - the infusion of vastness and expansiveness into the fragile and minute. Augeries incorporates techniques of expansion and contraction, metonymic relationships, dilation and infolding of time, and structured improvisation to create an experience that is designed to explore the notion of musical time, and to bring to the listener the sense of time freedom. The critical analysis suggests that the increase in the notions of musical time, the aesthetics with which they conform, and the new time forms created, encapsulate communicative significance. This significance exists within a horizon of meaning. Semiotics illuminates an understanding of the structuring techniques used to render time as an area of artistic play. Understanding the aesthetics and mechanisms through which these techniques can be used constitutes a shared horizon of meaning. The concepts of cultural phenomenologist Jean Gebser, as explicated in The Ever-Present Origin, are used to contextualize these notions, through a description of the various consciousness structures with specific attention to the space-time relationships. Of specific concern are the aperspectival manifestations in music in the twentieth century and beyond. Special emphasis is given to the area of electro-acoustic music, particularly spectral music. The theoretical analysis explores how the various techniques are used to create an aperspectival experience, and includes specific descriptions of the technique of refraction as metonymy, and pitch set analysis of the technique of expansion and contraction.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Gedosh, David

Perspectives on The Passion According to the Gospels of Matthew and John

Description: My thesis covers the materials and methods of my composition, The Passion According to the Gospels of Matthew and John. It features an extensive analysis of Penderecki's Passio et mors Domini nostri Iesu Christi secundum Lucam. The research also covers some history of the Passion genre and its development. The second half of the paper presents a background and analysis of my work. It details many of the creative processes and methods I employed.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Fryklund, Aaron

Clestrinye [El Carnaval del Perdón]: Traditional Rituals in Intermedia Composition.

Description: In Part I of this thesis, I examine the use of Latin American rituals, ceremonies, and traditional folklore as conceptual and compositional material; studying and re-contextualizing concepts, cultures, and ideologies, and introducing them to foreign audiences. I explore issues such as laptop improvisation, interaction with other performance forces, and the utilization of the social elements of non-western celebrations, as explored in Clestrinye, a work for live and fixed electronics, mixed ensemble, dancers, and painters.
Date: August 2008
Creator: Salazar, Camilo

Just Intonation and the Revitalization of Neoclassicism: Three Works for Baroque Instruments

Description: For a composer of today, the relationship between new music and music from many centuries past remains problematic. In order to create something new, it is necessary to go beyond previous techniques of composition in some way. At the same time, new music that has no connection with music of the past runs the risk of irrelevance. Just tuning offers one possibility for reconciling this problem. By effectively warping music of the past through the lens of altered tuning and contemporary composition techniques, music of the past may be understood in previously unknown ways. Part I, the critical essay, presents historical background and analysis of a cycle of three works in altered/just tuning. Part II presents scores of the works.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Figg, Graham Elliot

Syncretisms for wind quintet and percussion: A study in combining organizational principles from Southeast Asian music with western stylistic elements.

Description: Syncretisms is an original composition scored for flute, oboe, clarinet, horn, bassoon, and marimba (2-mallet minimum, 4 recommended) with an optional percussion part requiring glockenspiel and chimes, and has an approximate duration of 6 min. 45. sec. The composition combines modern western tuning, timbre, and harmonic language with organizational principles identified in music from Southeast Asia (including music from cultures found in Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, and Indonesia). The accompanying paper describes each of these organizational principles, drawing on the work of scholars who have performed fieldwork, and describes the way in which each principle was employed in Syncretisms. The conclusion speculates on a method for comparing musical organizational systems cross-culturally.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Seymour, John

Snow Spell: An Interactive Composition for Erhu, Flute, Piano, Cello, and Max/MSP

Description: Snow Spell is an interactive composition for erhu, flute, cello, piano, and Max/MSP interactive computer music system. This one-movement piece, Snow Spell, is intended to depict the beauty of a snow scene by presenting four different impressions of snow envisioned by the composer through music. The definition, history, and significance of interactive music are explored. Various modes of interactivity to control signal processing modules, and technical considerations for signal routing and level control in the interactive computer music system are also explored. Chinese music elements in Snow Spell including pentatonic scales, glissandi, and quotations from the Chinese folk tune River of Sorrow are investigated.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Cheng, Chien-Wen

Memento mori: Concert for Violoncello and Orchestra

Description: Death, as a subject, has been treated extensively throughout history, both in literature as well as in music. The focus of Memento mori is to portray the inevitability of death through music. The first part of the document is an essay exploring the topic of death, its inevitability, unpredictability and the fragility of life. This section also includes a number of examples of composer's whose works have influenced the composition of the piece. The title of the work is meant to reflect that death catches up with all of us and that humans no matter how invincible they feel at certain stages of life will, eventually, succumb to death. The second part of the document is the notated orchestral score. The work is for full orchestra and solo violoncello. It is in three acts that loosely resemble three stages of life; Youth followed by life in adulthood and finally death. The work is not programmatic and the piece's formal structure varies from a traditional concerto, for although comprised of three distinct acts, there are no pauses between them. The entire work is meant to be dark and morbid and the specter of death looms throughout the piece.
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Date: December 2006
Creator: Fakhouri, Fouad K.

A Rhetorical Guide to Ebb

Description: In the essay A Rhetorical Guide to Ebb I explore the diverse array of influences in art, and music that guided the creation of the composition Ebb, for 13 musicians and electronics. Of those influences, the boxes of the American artist Joseph Cornell played a particularly important role. Having based the conceptual framework for Ebb on ideas taken from Cornell, the essay, instead of being driven by a single thesis, involves the creation of conceptual boxes. These conceptual boxes emphasize the influence of the artist Joseph Cornell, along with the composers Iannis Xenakis and Gérard Grisey. In addition, a time line documenting the stages in Ebb's creation is included.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Zajicek, Daniel James

Aesthetic Models and Structural Features in Concerto for Solo Percussion and Concert Band

Description: Concerto for Solo Percussion and Concert Band was commissioned by Staff Sergeant Rone Sparrow, a percussionist with the West Point Military Academy Band. Funding for the project was provided by the Barlow Foundation. The piece was premiered April 13, 2005 in the Eisenhower Hall Theater at West Point, New York. Rone Sparrow performed with the USMA band, and Colonel Thomas Rotondi Jr., Commander/Conductor, conducted the piece. The concerto consists of three movements, and each movement features a different instrument: the first features marimba, the second, vibraphone, and the third movement features the drum kit together with a rhythm section (piano, bass, and drums). In addition to the piece, the dissertation paper discusses important technical detail related to the piece, including: harmony, form, rhythm, programmatic ideas as they relate to motivic strands, and the process of generating and discarding material. The paper also focuses on a number of factors that were influential to the piece, such as postmodern philosophy.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Anderson, Stephen Reg

RevealingReveilingReveling

Description: This thesis explores the possibilities of communication in the context of a sound composition. In RevealingReveilingReveling, a series of questions concerning communication posed by John Cage, coupled with an extension of those questions posed by myself, are set to recorded sounds-in-the-world. The intention is to create a greater awareness of that which there is to listen in our world. The first part of this essay discusses influences of philosophical thought during the process of composing RevealingReveilingReveling. Two distinct twentieth-century thinkers that have impacted the creation of this piece and their areas of thought are Martin Heidegger: language and Being; and John Cage: sound, silence, and awareness. The second part of the essay is a structural analysis of the piece, discussing the recording of Cage's questions, sounds-in-the-world, sound-manipulation techniques and thought-processes, as well as periodic mention the aesthetic decisions made.
Date: May 2005
Creator: Colaruotolo, John

Prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication: A Composition for Soprano and Chamber Ensemble

Description: This paper examines the relationship between text and music in Prayers of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving and Supplication - a four-movement composition, fourteen minutes in length, for soprano, clarinet, bassoon, trumpet, trombone, violin, double bass, and percussion. The text of the composition is taken from the Psalms and The Book of Common Prayer. The names and themes of the movements follow an ancient pattern for prayer identified by the acronym, A.C.T.S. Compositional considerations are contrasted to those of Igor Stravinsky and Steve Reich, with special emphasis on the use of musical structures, motives, and text-painting to highlight the meaning of religious texts.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Monroe, Deborah J.

The Secret Art of Science: An Aural-Based Analysis of Jonty Harrison's Acousmatic Work "Pair/Impair"

Description: This paper observes the problems that impede meaningful analysis of form and structure in modern music, specifically electronic music. The premise of this research is to present methods, tools and practice for analyzing music whose visual interpretation, if any, do not represent the aural result of the composition. The means for suggesting a method are derived from documented observations in aural psychology, as well as composers' writings about musical perception. The result is an analytic model that focuses on the aural experience rather than the composers' compositional strategies which do not always agree with the resultant composition. The results from the analysis of music by Parmegiani, Harvey, Vega and Harrison help prove the general applicability of this research.
Date: August 2004
Creator: Vega, Henry