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Musical and Dramatic Functions of Loops and Loop Breakers in Philip Glass's Opera "The Voyage"

Description: Philip Glass's minimalist opera The Voyage commemorates the 500th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus's discovery of America. In the opera, Philip Glass, like other composers, expresses singers' and non-singers' words and activities by means of melodies, rhythms, chords, textures, timbres, and dynamics. In addition to these traditional musical expressions, successions of reiterating materials (RMs, two or more iterations of materials) and non reiterating materials (NRMs) become new musical expressions. However, dividing materials into theses two categories only distinguishes NRMs from RMs without exploring relations among them in successions. For instance, a listener cannot perceive the functional relations between a partial iteration of the RM and the NRM following the partial RM because both the partial RM and the NRM are NRMs. As a result, a listener hears a succession of NRM followed by another NRM. When an analyst relabels the partial RM as partial loop, and the NRM following the partial RM as loop breaker, a listener hears the NRM as a loop breaker causing a partial loop. The musical functions of loops and loop breakers concern a listener's expectations of the creation, sustaining, departure, and return to the norm in successions of loops and loop breakers. When a listener associates the satisfaction and dissatisfaction of these expectations with dramatic devices such as incidents, words in dialogues and soliloquies, and activities by singers and non-singers, loops and loop breakers in successions become dramatically functional. This dissertation explores the relations among musical and dramatic functions of loops and loop breakers in Glass's musical commemoration of Columbus.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Wu, Chia-Ying
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Aesthetics of Minimalist Music and a Schenkerian-Oriented Analysis of the First Movement "Opening" of Philip Glass' Glassworks

Description: Philip Glass' Glassworks (1981) is a six-movement composition for two flutes, two soprano saxophones/clarinets, two tenor saxophones/bass clarinets, two French horns, violas, cellos, and the DX7 electric piano. Glassworks consists of six movements titled "Opening," "Floe," "Island," "Rubric," "Facades," and "Closing." This thesis covers the first movement "Opening." Repetition in musical minimalism confronts traditional prescriptive codes of tonal music and post-tonal music. While challenging the traditional codes, repetition in musical minimalism established new codes for listening to minimal music. This thesis explores the implications of these ideas.
Date: May 2009
Creator: Wu, Chia-Ying
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sibelius's Seventh Symphony: Genesis, Design, Structure, and Meaning

Description: This study explores Sibelius's last and, perhaps, most enigmatic Symphony from historical (source-critical), Schenkerian, and transtextual perspectives. Through a detailed study of its genesis, musical architecture, and meaning, the author maintains that the Seventh, its composer, and its generative process, can best be understood as a series of verges: conceptual points of interaction between two or more forces. Verges between Sibelius's nature mysticism and the dramatic biographical circumstances of the period (1914-1924), between inspired and reasoned modes of composition, between genres (symphony and fantasy), between various form types, between tragic despair and hopeful yearning, between innovation and classicism, and between a host of other seeming oppositions, all define the Seventh Symphony and illuminate various facets of the composer's life and thought.
Date: May 2004
Creator: Pavlak, F. William
Partner: UNT Libraries

Functions of Quotations in Steven Stucky's Oratorio August 4, 1964 and Their Placements within the Context of a Quotation Continuum: Cultural, Commentary, Remembrance, and Unity

Description: The oratorio August 4, 1964 is a twelve-movement work for orchestra, chorus, and four soloists written by Steven Stucky. The premise for the libretto, adapted by Gene Scheer, is the confluence of two events during one day (August 4, 1964) in the life of Lyndon B. Johnson. Although the main idea of the libretto focuses on these two events of this one day, many cultural references of the 1960's in general can be found as well, such as quotations from the well-known song "We Shall Overcome." Stucky borrows from a motet he wrote in 2005 for another quotation source utilized in this oratorio, "O Vos Omnes." My goal in this thesis is to reveal and analyze the many different levels of quotations that exist within August 4, 1964, to explore each quotation's individual function within the oratorio (as a cultural gesture, commentary or remembrance), and to examine the structural coherence that emerges as a result of their use within the oratorio.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Davenport, Jennifer Tish
Partner: UNT Libraries

Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43; Analysis and Discourse

Description: This dissertation on Rachmaninoff's Rhapsody on a Theme by Paganini, Op.43 is divided into four parts: 1) historical background and the state of the sources, 2) analysis, 3) semantic issues related to analysis (discourse), and 4) performance and analysis. The analytical study, which constitutes the main body of this research, demonstrates how Rachmaninoff organically produces the variations in relation to the theme, designs the large-scale tonal and formal organization, and unifies the theme and variations as a whole. The selected analytical approach is linear in orientation - that is, Schenkerian. In the course of the analysis, close attention is paid to motivic detail; the analytical chapter carefully examines how the tonal structure and motivic elements in the theme are transformed, repeated, concealed, and expanded throughout the variations. As documented by a study of the manuscripts, the analysis also facilitates insight into the genesis and structure of the Rhapsody. How Rachmaninoff develops his ideas through several notebooks - including sketches and drafts - is described. Later parts of the dissertation deal with programmatic aspects of the Rhapsody. Related to the composer's significant use of the Dies Irae melody, semantic issues concerning "love and death" are taken into account and closely related to the specific structure of the piece. Rachmaninoff's symphonic poem, The Isle of the Dead, is a work which bears some intriguing resemblances to the Rhapsody in its larger structure as well as its ideology. Therefore, an interpretation of this work is provided to show the special relationship between the two pieces. The last chapter presents a discussion of two recordings of the Rhapsody by Rachmaninoff and Moiseiwitsch made in 1934 and 1938 respectively. Comparing and contrasting the different interpretations of each variation in these two historical recordings, this concluding part of the study explores ways in which analysis can ...
Date: May 2004
Creator: Kang, Heejung
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Influence of Fredrik Melius Christiansen on Six Minnesota Conductor-Composers

Description: F. Melius Christiansen was very influential in the a cappella choral tradition. He started his career in Norway and brought his expertise to the American Midwest. Christiansen established a name for himself while working at St. Olaf Lutheran College as the head of the music department. It was the blended choral sound and precision he was able to achieve and display with his new choir in 1912 that caught everyone's ear. He continued to succeed with national and international tours, allowing him to spread his new "St. Olaf" choral sound through his music, compositions, and conducting school. This study explores the influence of F. Melius Christiansen (1871-1955) and the Minnesota choral tradition on six subsequent conductor-composers' compositions and conducting styles, including: Olaf Christiansen (1901-1984), Paul J. Christiansen (1914-1997), Kenneth Jennings (b. 1925), Robert Scholz (b. 1940), René Clausen (b. 1953), and Kenneth Hodgson (b. 1939) using Schenkerian analysis.
Date: May 2006
Creator: Armendarez, Christina Marie
Partner: UNT Libraries

From Outward Appearance to Inner Reality: A Reading of Aaron Copland's Inscape

Description: About 8.3% of individuals diagnosed with diabetes mellitus (DM) are diagnosed with comorbid depression, a higher rate than the general adult population. This project examined the differences of depression symptoms experienced between diabetic and matched non-diabetic individuals and the relationship of daily activity and nutrition behaviors with depression between these groups. The 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) was utilized to assess: depression symptoms, diabetic glycemic control as measured by glycoginated hemoglobin (HbA1c), amount of physical activity, percentage of macronutrients, daily frequencies of foods consumed, and the use of nutritional food labels to make food choices. A sample of diabetic (n = 451) and non-diabetic individuals (n = 451) were matched to on age, gender, ethnicity, and education. The diabetic individuals experienced greater depression on both continuous and ordinal diagnostic variables. Counter to expectation, there was no relationship observed between depression and HbA1c in diabetic individuals, r = .04, p > .05.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Ensign, Jeffrey S.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Fundamental Unity in Brahm's Horn Trio, Op. 40

Description: Different sections or movements of a piece are associated with each other and contain the composer essential thought. A vague affinity of mood and a resembling theme or form testifies to the relationship. However, the evidence is insufficient to reveal the unification of the different sections or movements since these are under restraint of external music proofs. In order to figure out the relationship, thus, identical musical substance should be discovered. In the study the substantial evidence, which can be called unity or unification, is mainly discussed. The unity is illustrated with Brahms's Horn Trio, Op.40 that is one of the Brahms's significant works. The unity found in the Horn Trio is based on the internal structure and structural voice-leading notes. The unity in the Horn Trio is the fundamental structural unity that is divided into initial ascent and voice exchange, and fundamental voice-leading motive. The fundamental unity seriously affects the master piece and penetrates the movements as a whole. Further, it reveals the hidden connections to the historical background of the Horn Trio and the philosophy of Brahms for the music. Even though a piece consists of several sections or movements, the entire piece presents homogeneity. The identity of the composer's underlying philosophical thought suffices to discern the musical unity in a piece. Thus, the investigation of unity is one of the critical ways to understand not merely a piece but also the philosophy of a composer. The study will help to enhance the audience's interpretation of music.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Kim, JongKyun
Partner: UNT Libraries

Toward a Unified Whole: Allan Pettersson's Symphony No. 5.

Description: The earlier symphonies of the 1950s embody a gradual realization of Pettersson’s own unique symphonic style, containing large-scale development, repetition, and reiteration. Symphony no. 5 takes these ideas to the extreme and represents the codification of techniques that are further developed in later symphonies. The present study examines the structure of the symphony from a voice-leading perspective. Included in this study is an analysis of the construction of the piece focusing on the development and expansion of motives that operate as structural determinants and the use of chromatic saturation to create intensity and direction. The use of linear analysis in a post-tonal context makes necessary a section devoted to explicating the graphic notation shown in the analysis and the analytical process of determining linear progressions.
Date: August 2007
Creator: Davis, Colin
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

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
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Adagio of Mahler's Ninth Symphony: A Schenkerian Analysis and Examination of the Farewell Story

Description: Mahler's Ninth Symphony, since its premier in 1912, has sparked much debate about its programmatic meaning. This thesis provides an in-depth analysis of the Adagio and an examination of the controversy of the farewell story. In the process of the analysis I have compared my findings to some of the important authors in Mahler's field such as Vera Micznik, Henry-Louis de La Grange, and Christopher Orlo Lewis. Some of the conclusions are that a closer investigation of the music is necessary and that the programmatic reading of the farewell story can be appropriate.
Date: May 2011
Creator: Patterson, Jason
Partner: UNT Libraries

Fractures for Clarinet and Computer

Description: Fractures for Clarinet and Computer is a piece for live interactive performance using custom software designed in Max/MSP. the work explores musical borrowing and transformation of music from works such as Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, and several fragments from synthesizer recordings of the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. the dissertation focuses on both the musical aesthetics that informed the creation of the work and the software programming that enables live sampling and harmonization systems as well as flexible control of global parameters.
Date: May 2012
Creator: Dixon, Gregory Hart
Partner: UNT Libraries

Formal Organization in Ground-bass Compositions

Description: This thesis examines formal organization in ground-bass works. While it is true that many or even most works of the ground-bass repertoire are variation sets over a ground, there also exist many ground-bass works that are not in variation form. The primary goal of this thesis is to elucidate the various ways in which such non-variation formal organizations may be achieved. The first chapter of this work discusses the general properties of ground basses and various ways that individual phrases may be placed in relation to the statements of the ground. The second chapter considers phrases groupings, phrase rhythm, and the larger formal organizations that result. The third chapter concludes this study with complete analyses of Purcell’s “When I am laid in earth” from Dido and Aeneas and Delanade’s “Jerusalem, convertere ad dominum Deum tuum” from his setting of the Leçons de ténèbres.
Date: August 2015
Creator: Stevens, Bryan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Ligeti’s Early Experiments in Compositional Process: Simple Structures in Musica Ricercata

Description: This study examines the formation of a unique chromatic and formal language in Musica Ricercata by György Ligeti. The study begins by examining statements from an interview with Ligeti conducted by Ove Nordwall in 1979. The interview discusses his compositional experiments from the early 1950s, the period in which Musica Ricercata was composed. Working from Ligeti’s words, “simple structures” are defined as repeating formations of rhythms and intervals with easily discernable features. These features must be salient such that when the structure is altered, it is still clearly and audibly recognizable. The musical and political environment in Hungary at the time is established, providing context for this early experimentation with compositional parameters. The analysis begins with an overview of the entire work, outlining developments of pitch-class density, symmetrical pitch-class structures, and notated accelerandi over the course of the multi-movement work. Analyses of simple structures in each movement elucidate both Ligeti’s experimental approaches to chromaticism, along with more traditional aspects, with special reference to Bartók’s compositional style.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Grantham, Daniel
Partner: UNT Libraries

Polyphonic Harmony in Three of Ferruccio Busoni’s Orchestral Elegies

Description: This dissertation focuses on three of Busoni’s late orchestral works known as “orchestral elegies”: Berceuse élégiaque (Elegie no. 1, 1909), Gesang vom Reigen der Geister (Elegie no. 4, 1915), and Sarabande (Elegie no. 5, 1918-19). The study seeks to provide a better understanding of Busoni’s late style as a crucial bridge from late nineteenth-century chromaticism in the works of Liszt, Wagner, and others to the post-tonal languages of the twentieth century. At the heart of this study lies a particular concept that forms the basis of many characteristic features of Busoni’s late style, namely the concept of polyphonic harmony, or harmony as a cumulative result of independent melodic lines. This concept is also related to a technique of orchestration in which the collective harmony is sounded in such a way that the individual voices are distinct. In the highly personal tonal language of Busoni’s late works, passages often consist of a web of motives weaved throughout the voices at the surface level of the music. Linear analysis provides a means of unravelling the dense fabric of voices and illustrating the underlying harmonic progressions, which most often consist of parallel, primarily semitonal, progressions of tertian sonorities. Chapter 1 provides a backdrop for this study, including a brief summary of Busoni’s ideas on the aesthetics of music and a summary of his influence and development as a composer. Chapter 2 addresses the concept of polyphonic harmony in more detail, some theoretical ideas related to it, and characteristics of Busoni’s late style that reflect this concept. Chapter 3 is dedicated to analytical methodology, addressing concepts which emerge from various linear approaches to the analysis of some twentieth-century music. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 are each dedicated to a specific work, the purpose being to illuminate through linear analysis compositional characteristics and techniques related ...
Date: May 2015
Creator: Davis, Colin
Partner: UNT Libraries

An Analytical Study of Paradox and Structural Dualism in the Music of Ludwig van Beethoven

Description: Beethoven's rich compositional language evokes unique problems that have fueled scholarly dialogue for many years. My analyses focus on two types of paradoxes as central compositional problems in some of Beethoven's symphonic pieces and piano sonatas. My readings of Beethoven's Piano Sonata No. 27 (Op. 90), Symphony No. 4 (Op. 60), and Symphony No. 8 (Op. 93) explore the nature and significance of paradoxical unresolved six-four chords and their impact on tonal structure. I consider formal-tonal paradoxes in Beethoven's Tempest Sonata (Op. 31, No. 2), Ninth Symphony (Op. 125), and Overture die Weihe des Hauses (Op. 124). Movements that evoke formal-tonal paradoxes retain the structural framework of a paradigmatic interrupted structure, but contain unique voice-leading features that superimpose an undivided structure on top of the "residual" interrupted structure. Carl Schachter's observations about "genuine double meaning" and his arguments about the interplay between design and tonal structure in "Either/Or" establish the foundation for my analytical approach to paradox. Timothy Jackson's reading of Brahms' "Immer leiser word meine Schlummer" (Op. 105, No. 2) and Stephen Slottow's "Von einem Kunstler: Shapes in the Clouds" both clarify the methodology employed here. My interpretation of paradox involves more than just a slight contradiction between two Schenkerian readings; it involves fundamentally opposed readings, that both result from valid, logical lines of analytical reasoning. In my view, paradoxes could be considered a central part of Beethoven's persona and philosophy. Beethoven's romantic endeavors and his relationships with mentors suggest that paradoxes might have been central to his bravura. Furthermore, Beethoven's familiarity with the politics of the French Revolution and Shakespearean literature suggest that paradoxes in some pieces (including the Ninth Symphony) could be metaphorical representations of his ideology. However, I do not attempt to explicitly link specific style features to extra-musical ideas. Modern Schenkerian scholars continue to expand ...
Date: May 2016
Creator: Graf, Benjamin Stewart
Partner: UNT Libraries

Prolongation in Post-Tonal Music: A Survey of Analytical Techniques and Theoretical Concepts with an Analysis of Alban Berg's Op. 2, No. 4, Warm Die Lüfte

Description: Prolongation in post-tonal music is a topic that music theorists have engaged for several decades now. The problems of applying Schenkerian analytical techniques to post-tonal music are numerous and have invited several adaptations of the method. The bulk of the thesis offers a survey of prolongational analyses of post-tonal music. Analyses of theorists such as Felix Salzer, Allen Forte, Joseph Straus, Edward Laufer, and Olli Väisälä are examined in order to reveal their various underlying theoretical principles. The thesis concludes with an analysis of Alban Berg's Warm die Lüfte from his Op. 2 collection that focuses on the prolongation of a referential sonority that forms the background of the song. The analysis highlights the most significant analytical techniques and theoretical concepts explored in the survey and codifies them in a generally applicable method of post-tonal prolongational analysis.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Huff, David
Partner: UNT Libraries

Non-Linear and Multi-Linear Time in Beethoven's Opus 127: An Analytical Study of the "Krakow" Sketch Materials

Description: Beethoven's complex manipulation of formal structures, especially his tendency to build important connections and transformative continuities between non-adjacent sections of musical works, may be seen to function as an attempt to control and sometimes to distort the listener's perception of both the narrative process of musical directionality, as well as the subjective interpretation of time itself. Temporal distortion often lies at the heart of Beethoven's complex contrapuntal language, demonstrated equally through the composer's often enigmatic disruption of phrase-periodic gestures, as well as by occasional instances of overtly incongruous temporal shifts. The "Krakow" collection of compositional sketches for Beethoven's String Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 127, provides a number of instances of "non-linear" or "multi-linear" musical continuity. The term "Krakow" sketches, when referenced in this dissertation, specifically designates the group of Beethoven manuscripts possessed by the Biblioteka Jagiellońska in Krakow, Poland, but which formerly were held by the Royal Library in Berlin. Structural voice-leading analyses are provided for selected portions of the "Krakow" collection; these analyses are then compared to voice-leading graphs and analytical reductions of the corresponding material from Beethoven's published versions of the same musical passages. In some cases the sketches supply almost complete texts, for which critical transcriptions are included as extended examples within the dissertation. The primary analytical technique applied to both compositional sketches as well as to complete musical texts derives from Heinrich Schenker's theory of structural voice-leading and graphical reduction. An important method of critical assessment, from which a number of theoretical arguments are developed, is the contention that Beethoven's contrapuntal language, at least in regard to the op. 127 String Quartet, relies heavily upon a temporal distortion of both form and phrase-periodic gestures, requiring the listener to actively re-construct the continuity of Beethoven's subjective formal archetypes.
Date: August 2010
Creator: Lively, Michael
Partner: UNT Libraries

Alberto Ginastera and the Guitar Chord: An Analytical Study

Description: The guitar chord (a sonority based on the open strings of the guitar) is one of Alberto Ginastera's compositional trademarks. The use of the guitar chord expands throughout forty years, creating a common link between different compositional stages and techniques. Chapters I and II provide the historical and technical background on Ginastera's life, oeuvre and scholar research. Chapter IV explores the origins of the guitar chord and compares it to similar specific sonorities used by different composers to express extra-musical ideas. Chapter V discusses Ginastera's initial uses and modifications of the guitar chord. Chapter VI explores the use of the guitar chord as a referential sonority based on Variaciones Concertantes, Op. 23: I-II, examining vertical (subsets) and horizontal (derivation of motives) aspects. Chapter VII explores uses of trichords and hexachords derived from the guitar chord in the Sonata for Guitar Op. 47.
Date: December 2010
Creator: Gaviria, Carlos A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Redeeming the Betrayer: Elgar’s Portrayal of Judas in the Apostles

Description: Despite its generally agreed importance, very little has been written about The Apostles. Even among the extant publications that address The Apostles, scholars have focused on its history and development, its reception, or analytical descriptions of its surface themes. The aim of this study will therefore be to provide neither a biography of Elgar, nor an account of the genesis of the work, but to analyze The Apostles in a manner that will achieve a deeper understanding of the oratorio. Chapter 1 explores the complexities that surround Judas and the different ways in which he was perceived throughout history. Then, through my analysis of the surface motives in Chapter 2 and their significance in relation to the large-scale harmonic structure in Chapter 3, I will suggest that Elgar does not denigrate Judas as the betrayer of Christ in The Apostles, but rather depicts him as a tragic yet crucial figure in achieving the redemption of mankind, and through this Judas himself is redeemed.
Date: December 2013
Creator: Taycher, Ryan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Jacques Ibert: an Analytical Study of Three Movements From Histoires

Description: Although many biographical studies are available on Jacques Ibert, few contain significant analytical commentary. In this study I examine three movements from Ibert’s Histoires for piano which was composed between 1920 and 1921 and was premiered in 1923. The three movements are “La menuese de tortues d’or,” “Le petit âne blanc,” and “La marchande d’eau fraîche.” I primarily use Schenkerian analysis to identify characteristics of Ibert’s compositional language. Significant aspects of impressionism and Debussian influence are also identified as related elements to my analysis. Many expected elements of Schenkerian theory are absent in Histoires. The conclusions of this study are consistent with those of other analysts who apply Schenkerian methodology to impressionist music such as Richard Parks, Adele Katz, Felix Salzer, and Edward Laufer.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Waldroup, William Allan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Toward a Descriptive Eidetics of Atonality: a Phenomenological Analysis of Webern Op 3, No 1

Description: David Lewin, in his 1986 article “Music Theory, Phenomenology, and Modes of Perception,” offers a promising methodological approach for the analysis of tonal music from a phenomenological perspective. Lewin’s phenomenological method has a propensity to render seemingly contradictory readings in such a way that their respective validities can be preserved by articulating them within differentiated contexts. Expanding upon Lewin’s phenomenological work with analyzing tonal music, I propose that a phenomenological investigation of an atonal song, Webern op. 3, no. 1, from within a variety of differentiated contexts can shed light upon what it means to perceive a piece of music as being “not in a key.” This thesis will open with an introduction to Lewin’s phenomenological work and the writings of Edmund Husserl and Izchak Miller that Lewin used as a point of departure. The analysis of Webern op. 3, no. 1, that follows will regard the voice and piano parts as differentiated musical contexts in order to investigate the interaction between these contexts as they generally undermine the perception of tonality in the song. Finally, the notion of a “musical context” as an organizing factor of musical perception will be expanded to include the different analytical approaches of Olli Väisälä and Elmar Budde as they interact to reveal contrasting aspects of the song’s multivalent structure.
Date: August 2012
Creator: Schnitzius, Michael P.
Partner: UNT Libraries