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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

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