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A Performer's Guide to the First Two Movements of Pyotr Tchaikovsky's Grand Sonata in G Major, Opus 37

Description: The Grand Sonata in G Major, Op.37, composed by Tchaikovsky, is a powerful large-scale composition and a piece of a symphonic scope. However, the sonata did not receive a desired acclaim in the modern repertoire partially due to an obvious lack of performance instructions in the existing editions, which makes the sonata challenging to perform. Thus, in order to reduce the technical challenges and to encourage more frequent performances of the sonata, this dissertation offers a performer's guide that addresses essential elements of pedal indications, phrasing and detailed dynamics, as well as suggestions on voice balancing, agogics, fingering, and hand redistribution. The guide consists of musical examples that are focused on the most challenging sections of the sonata, and is organized in the subsections according to a technique type proposed to facilitate a performance of the sonata. In addition to the examples on application of individual techniques presented in the main body of the dissertation, alternative and more elaborate versions of the suggestions are proposed in the appendices. The dissertation also provides a history of the sonata, and discusses its concept and symphonic principles. Additionally, the work highlights Tchaikovsky's piano style and describes his views on the art of piano performance. A special attention is also given to two musical references repeatedly embedded into the sonata: the bell-like sonorities and Dies irae melody.
Date: December 2012
Creator: Dorozhkina, Elena V.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Aphorismen, Capriccio, and Heptameron for Piano Solo By Jürg Baur: a Performer's Guide

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to give instruction regarding the performance of three important piano works by Jürg Baur (1918-2010). Aphorismen, Capriccio, and Heptameron stand out as his most significant piano works both because of their length and because of their pianistic complexity. Since Baur had a successful career as both teacher and composer during his lifetime, his acclaimed works received many honors in Germany. His works can be performed by intermediate to advanced students. Intermediate students can easily offer simpler pieces like Aphorismen in competitions, while pieces like Capriccio and Heptameron better are suited to a more advanced level. Although some of his compositions are difficult to perform compared with other modern German works, Baur's music is more accessible. In the article, "Auf der Spuren der alten Zeit" Baur is quoted to state that Paul Hindemith and Bela Bartok's music influenced his own compositional ideas. However, although Baur is a modern composer, he didn't write in a totally atonal style, but rather attempted to broaden tonality. While Heptameron is atonal, Aphorismen and Capriccio give the impression of tonality, thus they are more accessible to the audience. I was fortunate enough to study Aphorismen with Baur as well as receiving advice for performance of Capriccio and some movements of Heptameron. Therefore, I gained a primary source of instruction, particularly in regards to pedal markings, rhythmic indications, voice balancing, finger suggestions, articulation markings, and tone of musical expression. In this dissertation, I include my own instructions (accepted by the composer) along with the composer's intentions.
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Date: December 2012
Creator: Park, Esther
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Performer's Guide to Samuil Feinberg's Sonata No. 6: A Window into Russian School Pianism

Description: Samuil Feinberg was an important performing pianist, composer, and one of the protagonists of Russian Piano School. Among his numerous piano compositions, the Sixth Sonata is one of the most complex and illustrative of his deeply personal musical ideas. The following performer's guide offers some ideas on interpreting and performing the sonata from the perspective of Russian school pianism. Having trained in Russia for nearly a decade with two of Feinberg's most eminent disciples and assistants (Tatiana Galitskaya and Liudmila Roschina) makes this author part of living chain back to his pedagogical principles. I will draw upon my knowledge and expertise to illustrate how interpretation of Feinberg's Sonata No. 6 embodies many of the particular and subtle aspects of the Russian piano school technique.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Georgievskaya, Liudmila
Partner: UNT Libraries

Learning From the Autograph: a New Critical Approach to Performing Liszt’s Sonata in B Minor

Description: The Sonata in B minor occupies a hallowed position in Liszt’s oeuvre, according to scholarly assessment. Despite the plethora of literature on this consummate work, the vast majority of writings on the sonata have focused almost exclusively on formal innovation, thematic transformation, and programmatic speculation, and there is a dearth of interpretative analysis of the sonata based on its fascinating autograph manuscript, even though it has been publicly accessible and widely available in facsimile for some four decades now. In view of the fact that the autograph manuscript has never been examined for the express purpose of improving performance of the sonata, this dissertation proposes to approach this problem with the direct examination of the autograph and its numerous additions and deletions, and the analysis of the many interpretive implications stemming from the surprising insights offered by the autograph itself, which is on deposit at the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York City. The goal of the dissertation is to make readily accessible a comprehensive performance-oriented study of this summit of pianism, offering solutions to the many discrepancies among its various published editions, from the first Breitkopf & Härtel in 1854 to the most recent Peters Urtext in 2011, and including photographic reproductions of the unpublished material obscured behind and beneath the collettes (idiosyncratic terminology for additional pieces of paper pasted over the manuscript) together with the author’s engraved transcriptions thereof. In sum, the dissertation provides guidance and solutions for the various forms of virtuosic and interpretive problems that earn the sonata its reputation for being one of the most difficult works in the repertoire to understand and perform.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Arjona, Alfredo
Partner: UNT Libraries

Style And Performance Aspects In The Newly Published Piano Sonata By Witold Lutos?awski

Description: Polish composer Witold Lutos?awski (1913-1994) was one of the most representative composers of the twentieth-century. Lutos?awski’s style progressed from traditional to modern avant-garde. His Piano Sonata belongs to his first compositional period, and is the only extant work from his student years. His remarkable synthesis of classical structures and impressionistic harmonic sonorities distinguishes the Sonata. Lutos?awski’s Piano Sonata is divided into three movements, and each movement is written in traditional sonata allegro form, sonata form without development and modified sonata form respectively. The Sonata contains both considerable elements of Classicism and Impressionism, as well as traits of Post-romanticism and Neoclassicism. The evolution of Lutos?awski’s compositional language can be better understood through an in-depth study of his Piano Sonata. Although Lutos?awski did not allow the work to be published during his lifetime, this occurred posthumously, ten years after the composer´s death. The recent publication of the work, paired with its substantial technical demands, both account for the fact that the Sonata is not frequently performed. The complex textures of Sonata place extensive technical and musical demands on the performer. In this study, a detailed description of the composer´s early style and influences as relates to this work will be analyzed and technical and pianistic approaches necessary for a performance of the work will be addressed. Also, there are significant discrepancies between the manuscript and printed score, even though the edition is based on the manuscript. Only one manuscript survives and scholarly research involving the work is scarce. Discrepancies between the manuscript and the published edition will be detailed, with suggestions for performance. It is hoped that this study will provide interest and be conducive to better approach the performance of this Piano Sonata.
Date: December 2011
Creator: Park, Eun Jeong
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Go-hyang (Ancestral Home) By David Burge: a Performer’s Guide to Integrating Korean Musical and Cultural Aspects

Description: David Burge (b. 1930) composed the work Go-Hyang (1994) inspired by his impressions of Korea. the purpose of this study is to provide a performance guide particularly for the benefit of non- Korean pianists. Each of the six pieces of Go-Hyang contains Korean musical and/or cultural references. This document details these aspects, obviously stated or implied through the work. Investigation into distinct characteristics and Korean elements of each of the six movements will involve sources from multiple fields. Interviews with both the composer and the pianist Young-Hae Han for whom the work was written answer many questions about performance issues. Once the Korean reference is examined, it will be related to performance consideration of each movement, in order. the result of this examination will provide the performer not only with beneficial information to facilitate the performance but also with some cultural background to enrich the interpretation of the work.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Lee, Soomin
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sun (1966): Eight Poems in One Movement for Solo Voice and Orchestra By Ned Rorem: Background, Analysis, and Performance Guide

Description: The purpose of the document is to present Ned Rorem’s Sun (1966): Eight Poems in One Movement for Solo Voice and Orchestra. the eight songs are “To the Sun,” “Sun of the Sleepless,” “Dawn,” “Day,” “Catafalque,” “Full Many a Glorious Morning,” “Sundown Lights,” and “From What Can I Tell My Bones?” the document is divided into four main chapters: 1) Background; 2) Poet and Poem Background; 3) Musical Analysis; 4) Performance Guide. Chapter 1 contains biographical information on Ned Rorem, and basic information of the work, Sun. Here, a relationship between the eight songs is presented. Chapter 2 discusses biography of poet and background of the poem. the poetry is examined to determine the theme and to identify imagery, and metaphor. Chapter 3 offers detailed musical analysis for each of the eight songs and interludes. Chapter 4 provides performance guide which offers assistance in forming personal interpretation and brief specifies to singers who wish to perform this work. Appendix a includes tonality, difficulty, tempo, form, theme, range, and orchestration of each song and interlude. This study serves as a reference guide for performers of Sun.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Jung, Soohee
Partner: UNT Libraries

Utilizing North American Art Song Settings of Psalm Texts in Worship Services: an Annotated Guide for Singers, Voice Instructors, and Music Ministers

Description: This dissertation provides a guide for appropriate use of North American art song settings of biblical psalms for solo voice written after 1950 in the worship services of Christian faiths. The songs analyzed are for all voice parts and a variety of accompanying ensembles. The placement of each song on a specific calendar day is guided by the individual church calendars and lectionaries, on the prevalent themes of the text, and the characteristics of the musical setting. Performance of these songs only in a concert setting limits their usefulness for singers, voice teachers, and music directors alike. A new and worthy performing context can be established by analyzing the text and musical settings.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Siddons, Kyle
Partner: UNT Libraries

Form and Pianistic Texture in the Operatic Fantasies Based on La Sonnambula and Der Freischütz of Franz Liszt and Julian Fontana: a Comparison of Compositional Approach

Description: This study examines and identifies the differences in compositional approach in the operatic fantasies based on Bellini’s La Sonnambula and Weber’s Der Freischütz by Franz Liszt and Julian Fontana. These four fantasies are placed in the context of musical conventions and audiences in the first half of the nineteenth century. The two operatic fantasies by Liszt that are included in this study are representative of reinterpretations that employ formal and textural features suitable for the concert repertoire of piano virtuosos. In contrast, the fantasies by Fontana are indicative of the potpourri style, and suitable both for amateur performance as well as for pedagogical use. The different functions and purposes of the operatic fantasies of Liszt and Fontana are compared and contrasted, with attention to each composer’s respective intended audiences as well as their distinct compositional intentions.
Date: May 2014
Creator: Chung, Migeun
Partner: UNT Libraries

Evocations from Childhood: Stylistic Influences and Musical Quotations in Claude Debussy's Children's Corner and La Boîte à Joujoux

Description: Claude Debussy is considered one of the most influential figures of the late 19th century and early 20th centuries. Among the various works that he wrote for the piano, Children's Corner and La Boîte à joujoux distinguish themselves as being evocative of childhood. However, compared to more substantial works like Pelléas et Mélisande or La Mer, his children's piano music has been underrated and seldom performed. Children's Corner and La Boîte à joujoux were influenced by a series of eclectic sources, including jazz, novel "views" from Russian composers, and traditional musical elements such as folk songs and Eastern music. The study examines several stylistic parallels found in these two pieces and is followed by a discussion of Debussy's use of musical quotations and allusions, important elements used by the composer to achieve what could be dubbed as a unique "children's wonderland."
Date: May 2011
Creator: Ko, Hsing-Yin
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Influence of Norwegian Folk Elements on Thomas Dyke Tellefsen’s Mazurkas Op 3 (1849) and Op 14 (1853)

Description: Although Thomas Dyke Tellefsen’s mazurkas have been considered mere imitations of Chopin’s musical idiom, his mazurkas are closely related to Norwegian folk elements. Tellefsen adopted Norwegian folkloric elements from his own country and infused Norwegian spirit into his works to create his own musical language. To trace the Norwegian folk influence, this study examines folk dance (the springar), folk instruments (the hardanger fiddle and the langeleik), and folk melodic and rhythmic motifs. As the result, this research demonstrates that Tellefsen’s mazurkas were influenced by a phrase structure of Norwegian springar dance music and the exact sound effect of folk instruments (the hardanger fiddle and the langeleik) as well as Norwegian folk rhythmic and melodic formulas which are frequently used in Norwegian folk tunes. Furthermore, the comparison between Tellefsen and Chopin’s mazurkas demonstrates that although their mazurkas seem to have a similar musical style, Tellefsen’s mazurkas include his own traditional Norwegian folk aesthetic, which present original contributions to the genre.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Lim, Mikyung
Partner: UNT Libraries

Under the Influence of Marc Blitzstein: Examining Leonard J Lehrman’s Uses of Serial Techniques for Dramatic Purposes in Karla

Description: American composer, author and conductor Leonard J. Lehrman (b. 1949) has spent a majority of his lifetime devoted to the scholarship on the music of Marc Blitzstein (1905-1964). Lehrman completed Blitzstein’s Idiots First in 1973, and finished his own one-act opera Karla in 1974. In an effort to honor Blitzstein, Lehrman included Karla along with Idiots First to begin the set of one-act operas to be titled Tales of Malamud. Lehrman coined the term “selective serialism” in reference to Blitzstein’s use of serial techniques representing something associated with death or something diabolical. Lehrman applies a similar technique in that he uses serialism to reference the presence of a handwritten notes that are tied to the dramatic context of the opera. This study examines Lehrman's use of serialism in Karla as it was directly influenced by Blitzstein’s use of serialism in Idiots First.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Blackwood, Jeremy B
Partner: UNT Libraries

Gordon Binkerd’s “Intermezzo” From Essays for the Piano (1976): a Comprehensive Analysis of Brahmsian Compositional Influences and Stylistic Elements

Description: Gordon Binkerd (1916-2003) was an influential and well-known twentieth century composer. While his choral works are renowned worldwide, his piano music is rather unfamiliar to present-day scholars and performers. Binkerd’s Essays for the Piano (1976) is a set of six pieces that was greatly influenced by Brahms’ music. Especially noteworthy is the first piece of the set, titled “Intermezzo,” which is based on Brahms’ “Intermezzo” Op. 118, No. 1. The fact that Binkerd’s compositional procedures allow for a “recasting” of Brahms’ piece in a way that disguises the original source of his work are intriguing and call for further research on the topic. As such, the main purpose of this study is to analyze Binkerd’s modern transcription-style writing, and consequently examine how it incorporates a series of influences and compositional elements from Brahms’ music. This dissertation is divided into five chapters. The first chapter contains a general overview of piano works by Binkerd that incorporate quotations of works by other composers are addressed. These include Five Pieces for Piano, Suite for Piano: Five Fantasies (Nos. 2, 3, and 4), and the Piano Sonatas Nos. 1-3. The second chapter provides an analytical study of the fundamental structure found in Brahms’ Intermezzo, No. 1 from Sechs Klavierstücke, Op. 118 The third chapter equally analyzes the fundamental structure of Binkerd’s “Intermezzo,” No. 1 from Essays for the Piano. The fourth chapter consists of a comparative study of the findings in Chapter 3, as they relate to both Brahms’ and Binkerd’s intermezzi. The fifth and final chapter is a conclusion.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Noh, Kyung-Ah
Partner: UNT Libraries

The First Movement of Piano Sonata in B-flat Minor by Julius Reubke: a Comparison of Three Editions From the Performer’s Point of View

Description: The objective of this dissertation is to review the discrepancies between the first edition, Stradal’s edition and Marzocchi’s edition of Reubke’s piano sonata, providing assistance for performers by clarifying inconsistencies between the three editions. Information in reference to major aspects such as fingerings, pedaling, phrasing, tempo markings is presented. Examples of discrepancies found throughout the first movement are discussed in Chapter 3. Detailed assessment of these discrepancies, accompanied by the author’s comments are listed in the comprehensive comparison table in Appendix A. Additionally, directions are given in cases of presumptive errors, and discrepancies are addressed with possible variant solutions. In conclusion, the relative merit of the three editions is assessed in Chapter 4.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Pátkai, Imre
Partner: UNT Libraries

Béla Bartók’s Editorial Input As Seen in His Edition of Piano Sonata Hobxvi:49 in E Flat Major by Joseph Haydn

Description: Béla Bartók (1881-1945), one of the twentieth century’s most significant composers, is also well known as an ethnomusicologist and concert pianist. However, Bartók’s work as a pedagogue and as an editor has received relatively little scholarly attention, despite famous pupils and despite his preparation of numerous critical and educational editions of his own and others’ works. While the critical editions are few, a significant number of Bartók’s editions of piano works have an educational purpose; these editions contain highly detailed performing indications and hold substantial potential for investigating Bartók’s ideas on the performance of works by other composers. Bartók edited nineteen piano sonatas by Haydn for educational purposes between 1911 and 1920. Bartók’s edition of Haydn’s Piano Sonata Hob.XVI:49 in E-flat Major is compared with both the first edition and the facsimile of the manuscript, with a focus on articulation, pedaling, dynamics, fingering, and other significant markings such as indications of expression and ornamentations. This document examines Bartók’s editorial input in this edition as an exemplar of his stylistic principles, and explores the value of Bartók’s Haydn editions as performing editions by critically examining both his editorial contributions and possible execution issues. This study thus provides an understanding of Bartók’s stylistic ideas regarding classical style, and promotes consideration of these editions for contemporary performers.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Cho, So Young
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Application of Common-practice Elements in Modern Music: Examining Examples of Musical Continuity in Selected Piano Works of James R Wintle

Description: The purpose of this dissertation is to analyze the ways in which distinguished American composer James RayWintle (1942-2013) addresses the problem of formal unity and incorporates previous musical styles in his post-tonal compositions. Because post-tonal music lacks many of the pillars that create tonal structure, it can be difficult for a composer to maintain a sense of form when writing in this style. Wintle attempts to circumvent this issue by incorporating common-practice elements, such as formal sections, familiar stylistic gestures, and referential-pitch organization into his works. For this analysis, the author has selected three of Wintle’s piano compositions that best represent his compositional approach and diverse techniques: Album Leaves - A Set of Five Character Pieces for Piano (2001), Scherzino (Street Scenes of Ovada) for Solo Piano (2010), and Four Miniatures for Piano Four Hands (2003). Wintle’s artistic style borrows extensively from Western classical music, encompassing various historical periods and quoting several major composers. Additionally, he incorporates a variety of musical styles into his chamber works and those for solo piano. These range from the dance suites of the French Baroque and Brahmsian-character pieces to American ragtime. This research also describes Wintle’s compositional style and his borrowing of 18th- and 19th-century techniques, forms, and titles, all set in a post-tonal language. The interviews conducted with the composer and his own program notes serve as primary sources, lending an invaluable insight into his works.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Kim, Sung-Yun
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto in G Minor, Opus 33: A Discussion of Musical Intent and Pianistic Effectiveness in Vilém Kurz's Version of the Solo Piano Part

Description: Since its premiere in 1878, Antonín Dvořák’s Piano Concerto in G Minor has been underrated and held in low regard by musicologists, critics, performers and audiences alike. Vilém Kurz (1872-1945), a Czech pianist and pedagogue, revised and reworked the piano solo part to incorporate what he considered to be added brilliance and pianistic effectiveness. However, the revised version has not increased the popularity of the work. In recent decades, this concerto has begun to appear more often in the programs and recordings are currently available, utilizing either the original piano part or Kurz's revision or a combination of both. In order to gain a broader analytical perspective and achieve a more authentic interpretation of the piece, a thorough understanding of the relation between Dvořák’s work and Kurz's revisions is indispensable. This study examines these adaptations and compares them with Dvořák’s scoring in order to gain further insight to Kurz's musical intent and pianistic aims. Examples from all movements are evaluated vis-à-vis the original to determine their purpose and musical validity.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Tang, Wen-Chien
Partner: UNT Libraries

Lowell Liebermann's Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 12: An Historical and Analytical Study

Description: Lowell Liebermann, born in New York City in 1961, is one of America's most distinguished living composers. In addition, he often conducts and performs as pianist in his own works. His musical language is unique and unmistakably rooted in the grand tradition of Western music; however, his style combines old and new, simple and complex, emotional and intellectual aspects. It combines tuneful, catchy melodies with a rich harmonic language, all framed by a strong formal design. This study begins with presenting primary information on this concerto excerpted from an interview with Lowell Liebermann. This interview served as a reference for subsequent sections, and a transcript of the interview is appended to the end of this study. In the third chapter, the musical language of the composer is discussed. Chapters four and five constitute the main body of this dissertation. The goal of these two chapters is to understand the basic three-pitch motive of the work, to demonstrate how it operates at various levels, and to see how the raw material corresponds at a larger structure level. It is the author's hope that this study will guide performers to better understand Liebermann's Concerto No. 1 for Piano and Orchestra, Opus 12.
Date: May 2010
Creator: Chang, Hsiao-Ling
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Formative Years: an Exploration of the Early Training and Song Juvenilia of Samuel Barber

Description: In the art of song composition, American composer Samuel Barber was the perfect storm. Barber spent years studying under superb instruction and became adept as a pianist, singer, composer, and in literature and languages. The songs that Barber composed during those years of instruction, many of which have been posthumously published, are waypoints on his journey to compositional maturity. These early songs display his natural inclinations, his self-determination, his growth through trial and error, and the slow flowering of a musical vision, meticulously cultivated by the educational opportunities provided to him by his family and his many devoted mentors. Using existing well-known and recently uncovered biographical data, as well as both published and unpublished song juvenilia and mature songs, this dissertation examines the importance of Barber's earliest musical and academic training in relationship to his development as a song composer.
Date: May 2013
Creator: Chester, Derek T.
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Instructional Approach to Introducing Twentieth-century Piano Music to Piano Students From Beginning to Advanced Levels: a Graded Repertoire for Mastering the Challenges Posed by Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations

Description: Beginning and intermediate piano students typically study the repertoire of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. This pedagogical approach leaves them underprepared to approach compositions written since the latter part of the twentieth-century which are significantly different in terms of harmony, rhythm, meter, and compositional procedure. Therefore, a step-by-step method is necessary to prepare a student for the challenges of learning twentieth and twenty-first century piano music. Civil War Variations (1988), by Logan Skelton, is an excellent example of a piece that presents a number of challenges characteristically found in late twentieth-century piano music. The twenty-five variations that comprise the work incorporate a series of twentieth-century musical techniques, namely complex rhythms, extreme dissonance, frequent metric changes, dissonant counterpoint, the inclusion of blues scales and rhythms, and new notations. The purpose of this study is to identify the technical, musical, structural and notational challenges posed by a work such as Logan Skelton’s Civil War Variations; examination of this piece will lead to suggestions regarding repertoire that a teacher may assign to beginning, intermediate, and advanced students in order to prepare them logically and in a step-by-step fashion to cope with and meet the challenges posed by this and other compositions having similar characteristics.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Kim, Dajeong
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Examination of Innovations in Alexander Scriabin’s Late Etudes for Piano

Description: Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915) stands as one of the most unconventional twentieth-century Russian composers, particularly with respect to his piano works. The overwhelming majority of Scriabin's compositions—sixty-seven of his seventy-four published works—were written for solo piano. His etudes from 1905 forward are revolutionary, especially compared with his earlier Chopinesque style. Among Scriabin’s twenty-six etudes, his Op.49, No. 1 (1905), Op.56, No. 4 (1908) and the last three etudes of Op.65 (1912) date from his last period of composition. In the Op.49 etude, Scriabin started to abandon traditional tonality. He omitted the key signature altogether in the Op.56 etude. The final three etudes of Op.65 feature constant dissonances on ninths, sevenths and fifths. Alexander Scriabin’s last five etudes represent the culmination of his compositional development and innovations at the piano. Several factors coalesce in these etudes, including unusual harmony, bichords, non-tonal hierarchy, and structural symmetry. Most of these factors derive in some fashion from Scriabin’s increasing reliance upon the so-called “mystic chord” in his late works. This study will illustrate how Scriabin explored new sonorous and aesthetic ideas in his late etudes by means of these innovations.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Lee, Kuo-Ying
Partner: UNT Libraries

Interpreting Richard Strauss's Der Krämerspiegel from the perspectives of the performers and the audience.

Description: The purpose of this document is to examine Richard Strauss's 1918 song cycle Der Krämerspiegel in order to discern compositional intent and to address problems performers may face in communicating the work to a contemporary audience. Examining the existing literature, it is never clearly stated why Strauss composed such an anomalous song cycle that defied aesthetic and generic norms of the day. The premise taken in this study is that Strauss, who was litigiously forced to write the work in order to fulfill a contract with the publisher Bote & Bock, composed certain difficulties into the cycle to make it less marketable and thus less profitable for the firm. Furthermore, he commissioned a text that lampooned the publishing industry in general and certain firms and individuals in particular. Following a brief history of Strauss's involvement with the publishing industry, general considerations for interpretation are examined. The individual songs are then explored, keeping in mind the text's word play and parody, Strauss's use of self-quotation, and the challenges performers and audiences face when confronting Krämerspiegel. Finally, the individual songs are explored, and suggestions for preparation and performance of Krämerspiegel are given suggesting a more operatic understanding of the piece, especially given the cycle's relationship to Strauss's opera Der Rosenkavalier.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Hurst, Michael Shane
Partner: UNT Libraries