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Babel: a Composition for Rock Band, Soprano Quartet, and Chamber Ensemble—music and Critical Essay

Description: Babel is a work for rock ‘n’ roll band (two electric guitars, electric bass, drum set), four soprano singers, and a twenty-one instrument mixed chamber ensemble. The 50-minute composition is based on the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11:1-9, and the four-movement structure is derived from the form of this narrative. The first movement, “building rebellion,” establishes man’s intent to build a grand city and tower in a rebellion against God, while the second movement, “seeing/coming down,” describes the all-seeing God’s knowledge of man’s rebellion and God’s descent to the city. Movements three and four, “confusion” and “scatter,” depict the actions of God, confusing humankind’s language and scattering him over the earth. This project fuses rock ‘n’ roll influences with contemporary classical improvisation, creating a work that is sonically and dynamically excessive. One compositional goal was to use small amounts of material as the impetus for directed improvisation, which would be developed to create intricate and evolving textures. Each movement’s score is confined to a single page of music per part, necessitating highly graphic and aleatoric notation. The musical history and musicianship of each player greatly shapes the sonic outcome of Babel. Rigorous structure was mixed with extra-musical associations to create intricate layers of musical and metaphorical meanings. Every decision regarding form, pitch, rhythm, and improvisatory state is linked to a meaningful mathematical, philosophical, or theological idea. Out of the intention to illustrate a multi-layered, Biblical text interpreted in vastly different ways, came a complex work of art that challenges, yet welcomes, performers and listeners of all kinds.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Peringer, Patrick Edward

Bach's Mass in B minor: An Analytical Study of Parody Movements and their Function in the Large-Scale Architectural Design of the Mass

Description: Most studies of the Mass in B Minor deal with the history of the work, its reception history, primary sources, performance practice issues, rhetoric, and even theological and numerical symbolism. However, little research focuses on an in-depth analysis of the music itself. Of the few analytical studies undertaken, to date only a limited number attempt to explain Bach's use of parody technique or unity in the whole composition. This thesis focuses on understanding three primary concerns in regards to the Mass in B minor: to comprehend how preexistent material was adapted to the context of the Mass, how this material functions in the network of the entire composition, and how unity is achieved by means of large-scale voice leading. The results of this study not only provide new information about this monument of Western music, but also provide insight to the deep sense of large-scale structure in Bach's work.
Date: December 2005
Creator: Pérez Torres, René

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.

Bandanna, An Opera by Daron Aric Hagen with Libretto by Paul Muldoon, Commissioned by the College Band Directors National Association: The Origins of an Artwork with a Glimpse at its Musical Character Development

Description: All information for this study was obtained by original source documents, interviews with the principal participants and the personal observations of the writer. A complete transcript of interviews with Daron Aric Hagen Michael Haithcockand Robert De Simone are included as appendices. In1961 the College Band Directors National Association (CBDNA) created its commissioning project for the purpose of contracting prominent composers to contribute works of high quality to the growing wind repertoire. Recently, CBDNA commissioned works that sought to collaborate with other disciplines within the artistic community. These collaborative works added new depth to the wind repertoire and helped advance the genre to new levels of prominence. CBDNA commissioned Daron Aric Hagen to write an opera using winds in the pit. He titled the work Bandanna, based on Shakespeare's Othello. Hagen contracted Paul Muldoon to write the libretto. A consortium of 79 member schools contributed to the project. A total of $100,000.00 was paid to the composer. The Director of Bands at Baylor University conducted the premiere performance of Bandanna during the 1999 CBDNA convention on 25 February 1999. Hagen assigned instrumental, thematic and harmonic attributes to each character. There are literally thousands of interactions between these elements that weave a tight pattern of organic unity into the entire work, making it exceptionally rich with symbolism and innuendo. Though still in its infancy, the uniqueness of this work both in the manner in which it came into being and through its artistic merits are fascinating. Only the future will determine whether Bandanna has true longevity or will fade into the background as a historical curiosity.
Date: December 2002
Creator: Powell, Edwin C.

Baroque Elements In The Piano Sonata, Opus 9 By Paul Creston

Description: Paul Creston (1906-1985) was one of the most significant American composers from the middle of the twentieth century. Though Creston maintained elements of the nineteenth-century Romantic tradition and was categorized as a “Neo-Romantic” or “20th-century traditionalist,” many of Creston’s compositions contain elements of Baroque music. His Piano Sonata, Opus 9 provides significant examples of Baroque elements, while already foreshadowing his mature style. The purpose of this study is to explore Baroque elements in the compositional language of Paul Creston’s Piano Sonata, Opus 9. All four movements of the Piano Sonata will be examined in regards to its stylistic features associated with Baroque practices. These features mainly consist of rhythm, texture, imitative writing, and repeated phrase structure. Each category of the study will include comparisons of Domenico Scarlatti’s keyboard sonatas with Creston’s sonata. Through an examination of the Piano Sonata and its Baroque elements, this study hopes to inspire renewed interest in the work among musicians and to help the performer give a more stylistically coherent, and accurate, performance.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Watanabe, Chie

The "Beethoven Folksong Project" in the Reception of Beethoven and His Music

Description: Beethoven's folksong arrangements and variations have been coldly received in recent scholarship. Their melodic and harmonic simplicity, fusion of highbrow and lowbrow styles, seemingly diminished emphasis on originality, and the assorted nationalities of the tunes have caused them to be viewed as musical rubble within the heritage of Western art music. The canonic composer's relationship with the Scottish amateur folksong collector and publisher George Thomson, as well as with his audience, amateur music lovers, has been largely downplayed in the reception of Beethoven. I define Beethoven's engagement with folksongs and their audience as the "Beethoven Folksong Project," evaluating it in the history of Beethoven reception as well as within the cultural and ideological contexts of the British Isles and German-speaking lands at the turn of the nineteenth century. I broaden the image of Beethoven during his lifetime by demonstrating that he served as an ideal not only for highly educated listeners and performers but also for amateur music lovers in search of cultivation through music. I explore the repertory under consideration in relation to the idea of Bildung ("formation" or "education" of the self or of selves as a nation) that pervaded contemporary culture, manifesting itself in music as the tradition of Bildungsmusik ("music for self-improvement"). Drawing on both contemporary reviews and recent studies, I show that the music's demanding yet comprehensible nature involved a wide range of elements from folk, popular, and chamber music to Hausmusik ("house music"), Unterhaltungsmusik ("music for entertainment"), Alpenmusik ("music of the Alps"), and even Gassenhauer ("street music"). Within the tradition of Bildungsmusik, adaptation of folksongs for domestic music-making, recomposition of pre-existing materials, collaboration between professionals and amateurs, and incorporation of musics familiar to and popular with contemporaries served as significant means for the composer to communicate with a middle-class audience. The hybrid and flexible ...
Date: December 2006
Creator: Lee, Hee Seung

Beethoven's Opus 18 String Quartets: Selected First Movements in Consideration of the Formal Theories of Heinrich Koch as Expressed in Versuch Einer Anleitung Zur Composition

Description: Heinrich Koch completed his treatise in 1793, a pioneering work regarding the musical phrase as well as a sonata form description (lacking that term). Composition of Opus 18 began in 1798, a momentous project for several reasons in Beethoven's early career. Here, the theories expressed in Koch's Versuch are taken as an analytic springboard into a thorough analysis of the first movement of the quartet published no. 3, which was the first composed; additionally, nos. 1 and 6 are explored to a lesser degree. This study in phrase-analysis demonstrates significance in the fundamental ideas of Koch as applied to a masterwork of the turn of the 19th century.
Date: December 2006
Creator: Tompkins, Robert

“Before I Die…”: Original Composition with a Critical Essay Exploring the Techniques of Six Crossover Composers

Description: Candy Chang developed a public art installation where people are given the opportunity to write their answers to "Before I Die I want to ________." in a public space. I created one of these walls in Denton, TX and set it to music in a 12 minutes and 42 second piece titled Before I Die..., which combines elements of South Indian carnatic music, gospel, R&B, jazz fusion, and minimalism. The composition was influenced by the music of several crossover artists Becca Stevens, Michael League (Snarky Puppy), Nico Muhly, Poovalur Sriji, Tigran Hamasyan, and James Blake. Crossover music, fusion, and third-stream are all synonymous terms used to describe music where multiple genres or styles are authentically combined. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the balance of musical elements in crossover works as well as how specific works composed by the artists mentioned have influenced the creation of the Before I Die... piece.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Trusko, Robert

"Being" a Stickist: A Phenomenological Consideration of "Dwelling" in a Virtual Music Scene

Description: Musical instruments are not static, unchanging objects. They are, instead, things that materially evolve in symmetry with human practices. Alterations to an instrument's design often attend to its ergonomic or expressive capacity, but sometimes an innovator causes an entirely new instrument to arise. One such instrument is the Chapman Stick. This instrument's history is closely intertwined with global currents that have evolved into virtual, online scenes. Virtuality obfuscates embodiment, but the Stick's world, like any instrument's, is optimally related in intercorporeal exchanges. Stickists circumvent real and virtual obstacles to engage the Stick world. Using an organology informed by the work of Heidegger and Merleau-Ponty, this study examines how the Chapman Stick, as a material "thing," speaks in and through a virtual, representational environment.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Hodges, Jeff

Belle Musique and Fin' Amour: Thibaut de Champagne, Gace Brulé, and an Aristocratic Trouvére Tradition

Description: Many consider Gace Brulé (c1160-c1213) and Thibaut IV, Count of Champagne, (1201-1253) to have been the greatest trouvères. Writers on this subject have not adequately examined this assumption, having focused their energies on such issues as tracking melodic variants of individual works as preserved in different song-books (or chansonniers), the interpretation of rhythm in performance, and creation of modern editions of these songs. This thesis examines the esteem enjoyed by Gace and Thibaut in both medieval and modern times which derives from their exemplarity of, rather than difference from their noble contemporaries.
Date: December 2008
Creator: Bly, Emily

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

Benjamin Britten's Sonata in C for Cello and Piano, Op. 65: A Practical Guide for Performance

Description: Benjamin Britten is a renowned and prolific English composer, well known for his operas and vocal works. He did, however, also compose five works especially for the cello as a solo instrument of which the Sonata in C for Cello and Piano Op. 65 was the first. He was inspired by one of his musical contemporaries, the remarkable Soviet cellist, Mstislav Rostropovich. Rostropovich was famous for his amazing artistry which propelled him to become one of the most prominent cellists in the world during his time. Thus Britten, who had previously only composed for cello as part of ensembles, created this sonata specifically thinking of Rostropovich and his outstanding skill as a cellist. The premiere of the sonata took place in July 1961 at the Aldeburgh Festival and it was a great success. However, despite Britten's reputation as an outstanding composer and the significance of the sonata, this sonata has been performed infrequently. Britten utilized many challenging techniques and adapted them innovatively in the composition, and perhaps performers may be reluctant to choose this work due to the complexity and challenge inherent in the composition itself. The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a practical guide for students and those who wish to learn and perform Britten's Sonata in C for Cello and Piano, Op. 65 by increasing understanding of the work, and by offering practical assistance.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Lee, Jeong-A

"Between the Staves" - Adaptations of Debussy's Six épigraphes antiques and Creative Tasks of the Performer

Description: The Six épigraphes antiques represent a cross-section of Debussy's creative output that traces the composer's germ-seed from his original setting of the work in 1901 as incidental music to accompany the recitation of several poems, to the four-hand piano version of 1914, and its consequent reduction for solo piano. What can be gleaned by the methods of derivation from his original sketches to the final, mature works is an understanding of Debussy's use of musical metaphor and his connection to the poetry - the Chansons de Bilitis of Pierre Louÿs. Embedded literary procedures create a new musical expression of the work whereby text and music become integrated. Rather than serving as accompaniment to the poems, the Épigraphes function as the primary vessel for the conveyance of these ancient scenes. Several of Debussy's hallmark symmetrical and structural moulds, such as the whole-tone, chromatic, octatonic, and mirroring techniques reflect the omnipresent symmetry of Classical Greece. Various other artistic creations emanated from the Épigraphes, most significantly the orchestration of Ernest Ansermet in 1939. A look at the techniques used by Ansermet for the augmentation of the piano work serves to extrapolate the multifarious layers relevant in performance. In order to facilitate the four-hand version for solo piano, Debussy used a variety of reductive methods. There are, however, means by which some of the extracted material might be restored to the solo version. Like the late work of many great masters, the Épigraphes are redolent of the tendency so many artists have near the end of their days - to revert back to the purest techniques of their language. The scoring of Debussy's Épigraphes is scaled back, compared to his Préludes (often consisting of three staves of notation), and incorporates leaner textures generated from lapidary motifs which transmit the antique realms evoked by the ...
Date: December 2007
Creator: Astilla, Christopher

Beyond the Human Voice: Francis Poulenc's Psychological Drama La Voix humaine (1958)

Description: Francis Poulenc's one-character opera La Voix humaine (1958), a setting of the homonymous play by Jean Cocteau, explores the psychological complexities of an unnamed woman as she experiences the end of a romantic relationship. During the forty-minute work, she sings in a declamatory manner into a telephone, which serves as a sign of the unrevealed man at the other end. Poulenc uses musical motives to underscore the woman's changing emotional states as she recalls her past relationship. The musical dramaturgy in this work resignifies Debussy's impressionist symbolism by collapsing devices used in Pelléas et Mélisande in a language that shifts between octatonicism, chromaticism, harmonic and melodic whole tone passages, and diatonicism. This late work recontextualizes elements in Poulenc's Dialogues des Carmélites (1953-56), and the end of the opera provides a theme for his Sonate pour Clarinet et Piano(1962), as Poulenc reflects on his youthful encounters with Cocteau, Erik Satie, and Les Six.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Beard, Cynthia C.

Beyond the "Year of Song": Text and Music in the Song Cycles of Robert Schumann after 1848

Description: In recent years scholars have begun to re-evaluate the works, writings, and life of Robert Schumann (1810-1856). One of the primary issues in this ongoing re-evaluation is a reassessment of the composer's late works (roughly defined as those written after 1845). Until recently, the last eight years of Schumann's creative life and the works he composed at that time either have been ignored or critiqued under an image of an illness that had caused periodic breakdowns. Schumann's late works show how his culture and the artists communicating within that culture were transformed from the beginning to the middle of the nineteenth century. These late works, therefore, should be viewed in the context of Schumann's output as a whole and in regard to their contributions to nineteenth-century society. Schumann's contributions, specifically to the genre of the song cycle from 1849 to 1852, are among his late compositional works that still await full reconsideration. A topical study, focusing on three themes of selections from his twenty-three late cycles, will provide a critical evaluation of Schumann's compositional output in the genre of the song cycle. First, Schumann's political voice will be examined. The political events that led to the mid-nineteenth-century revolutions inspired crucial changes in European life and the art produced at that time. Schumann took an active role through his artistic contributions in which he exercised his political voice in responding to these changing events. Second, Schumann's storytelling voice will be explored. In the nineteenth century, storytellers remembered past events in order to comment on social and political issues of their own day. Schumann's storytelling voice allowed him to embrace a change in his own musical style and message in several late cycles.ird, Schumann's (relational) feminist voice will be considered. In two late cycles Schumann featured historical women: Elisabeth Kulmann (1808-1825), a ...
Date: May 2007
Creator: Ringer, Rebecca Scharlene

Birth of a Modern Concerto: An Explication of Musical Design and Intention in Journey: Concerto for Contrabass Tuba and Orchestra

Description: John Stevens was commissioned by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the Edward F. Schmidt Family Commissioning Fund to compose a concerto for its principal tubist, Gene Pokorny. The piece began with multiple conversations between composer and performer and from these meetings actualized the influences that shaped the work. The most important influences that the performer mentioned were his passions for American steam locomotives and the Three Stooges, both of which were used by Stevens in his rendering of the composition. This concerto was designed to be played on the famous CC York tuba that was played by the former principal tubist of the CSO, Arnold Jacobs, the same instrument used today. Insight into the history of the York tuba will be given as well as their influence on contemporary manufacturing and design. Focus is given to how Stevens writes the piece idiomatically to the CC tuba and potential performance problems when a performer uses tubas of a different key. Conversations with both gentlemen will display the non-musical influences on Journey and how this effects the composition. Stevens' compositional language is explored and discussed in respect to the challenges and idiosyncrasies within the work. Collegiate tuba professors provide explanation for works level of interest within their respective schools and experiences.
Date: May 2008
Creator: Daussat, David M.

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-

Blueline Concerto: Critical Essay

Description: The purpose of this critical essay is two-fold. First, the essay presents a detailed critical analysis of my original composition, Blueline Concerto for bass trombone and wind ensemble. Second, using Blueline Concerto, the essay presents preliminary findings of my study to develop an approach to composing that takes into account the musicians' health, specifically regarding noise induced hearing loss (NIHL). Through various hypothesized composition- and orchestral-based approaches, I test effectiveness on changes in NIHL risk while also noting that artistic merit and compositional integrity is preserved.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Lamb, Christopher

Bohuslav Martinu: An Examination of Selected Chamber Music Involving the Clarinet

Description: The discussion dealt with stylistic influences, compositional techniques, and performance considerations of chamber music involving clarinet composed by Bohuslav Martinu and included a performance of three of his works: Quartet. for clarinet, horn, cello, and side drum, Madrigals for oboe, clarinet, and bassoon, and Sextet for flute, oboe, clarinet, two bassoons, and piano. The selections performed and discussed in the lecture show compositional growth of the composer through the three periods of his life in which he composed chamber music which included winds. These three time periods are 1923-40 during his residency in Paris, 1941-56 during his residency in the United States, and 1957 until his death in 1959 when he returned permanently to Europe.
Date: December 1997
Creator: Walzel, Robert L.

Brass Band History and Idiomatic Writing in Brass Music

Description: The purpose of this research was to explore historical perspective of brass music. There is a brief history of brass bands in Britain. Furthermore, the paper examines the differences between two brass band pieces in the repertoire, A Western Fanfare by Eric Ewazen and Brass Symphony by Jan Koetsier. Both of these pieces were compared and contrasted against the author's newly composed work for brass, Two Companion Pieces for Brass Ensemble. The paper covers different techniques commonly used in brass writing and points these techniques out in all three pieces.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Kahler, Elyse T.

Britten’s Op 47, Five Flower Songs: Breaking Trends in Analysis

Description: Benjamin Britten’s life and music have been the subject of study from early in his musical career. Current trends in psychological analysis of Britten’s music tend to focus on common themes, such as homosexuality, pacifism, the sense of the outsider, and the loss of innocence. Similarly, theoretical analyses tend either to provide general categorizations of the technical elements in Britten’s music or to apply a singular preconceived concept as a tool for understanding his compositions. These approaches have yielded significant information but leave aspects of Britten’s personality and music unilluminated. Britten’s Op. 47, Five Flower Songs, are a collection of five part songs for a cappella chorus that are often included within the canon of 20th century choral literature. This paper examines a new perspective on Britten’s music by examining the relationship between Britten’s friendships and their influence on his compositions. Through the examination of these relationships information is revealed that allows for a new method of analysis that is particularly relevant to the Five Flower Songs. The opus was dedicated to two botanists for the occasion of their 25th wedding anniversary. Contained within specific movements are extra-musical references to scientific characteristics of the flowers that are the subjects of the texts. By examining this work and important connections between other friendships and his compositional output this paper demonstrates the validity of this perspective in analyzing Britten’s life and music.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Jackson, Christopher Michael

A-Bu-GE: A Composition for Organ and Percussion

Description: Keyphrases describe a document in a coherent and simple way, giving the prospective reader a way to quickly determine whether the document satisfies their information needs. The pervasion of huge amount of information on Web, with only a small amount of documents have keyphrases extracted, there is a definite need to discover automatic keyphrase extraction systems. Typically, a document written by human develops around one or more general concepts or sub-concepts. These concepts or sub-concepts should be structured and semantically related with each other, so that they can form the meaningful representation of a document. Considering the fact, the phrases or concepts in a document are related to each other, a new approach for keyphrase extraction is introduced that exploits the semantic relations in the document. For measuring the semantic relations between concepts or sub-concepts in the document, I present a comprehensive study aimed at using collaboratively constructed semantic resources like Wikipedia and its link structure. In particular, I introduce a graph-based keyphrase extraction system that exploits the semantic relations in the document and features such as term frequency. I evaluated the proposed system using novel measures and the results obtained compare favorably with previously published results on established benchmarks.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Kim, Chol-Ho