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Creating Musical Momentum: Textural and Timbral Sculpting with Intuitive Compositional Systems and Formal Design

Description: This dissertation explores the analysis and creation of compositions from the standpoint of texture and momentum. It is comprised of four chapters. The first presents a number of concepts as tools for analysis, including textural typography and transformation, perception of time and psychological engagement of an audience, and respiration as a metaphor for musical momentum. The second and third chapters apply these tools to Gerard Grisey's "Periodes" and "Partiels," and Brian Ferneyhough's "Lemma-Icon-Epigram." The fourth explores specific methodologies used in composing my dissertation piece, "Phase," including the application of number systems ranging from formal to local levels.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Robin, Bradley G.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Tempered Confetti: Defining Instrumental Collage Music in Tempered Confetti and Venni, Viddi, --

Description: This thesis explores collage music's formal elements in an attempt to better understand its various themes and apply them in a workable format. I explore the work of John Zorn; how time is perceived in acoustic collage music and the concept of "super tempo"; musical quotation and appropriation in acoustic collage music; the definition of acoustic collage music in relation to other acoustic collage works; and musical montages addressing the works of Charles Ives, Lucciano Berio, George Rochberg, and DJ Orange. The last part of this paper discusses the compositional process used in the works Tempered Confetti and Venni, Viddi, – and how all issues of composing acoustic collage music are addressed therein.
Date: August 2016
Creator: Campbell, Andrew
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett

Description: Among the Voices Voiceless is a composition for flute (doubling piccolo), clarinet (doubling bass clarinet), viola, cello, percussion, piano, and electronics, based on the poem "What would I do without this world faceless incurious" by Samuel Beckett. The piece is a setting for disembodied voice: the vocal part exists solely in the electronics. Having no physical body, the voice is obscured as the point of empathy for the audience. In addition, instrumental solos compete for focus during the work's twenty minute duration. In passages including a soloist, the soloist functions simultaneously as antagonist and avatar to the disembodied voice. Spoken word recordings and electronic manipulation of instrumental material provides further layers of ambiguity. The companion critical essay "Among the Voices Voiceless": Setting the Words of Samuel Beckett proposes the distillation of Beckett's style into the elements of prosaicness, repetition, fragmentation, ambiguity, and symmetry. Discussions of Beckett's works such as Waiting for Godot and Molloy demonstrate these elements in his practice. This framework informs the examination of two other musical settings of Beckett's poetry: Neither by Morton Feldman and Odyssey by Roger Reynolds. Finally, these elements are used to analyze and elucidate the compositional decisions made in Among the Voices Voiceless.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Lyszczarz, Joseph E
Partner: UNT Libraries

Interactive Networks in "Forgotten Lyres": Critical Analysis and Original Composition

Description: Forgotten Lyres is a musical response to Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem Mutability, which depicts the fragility and unpredictable nature of human life. Four independent chamber ensembles make up the performing forces of Forgotten Lyres; the musicians evoke the topics of Shelley's text as they interact and coordinate with one another according to a variety of paradigms and without the use of a conductor. This essay focuses on the approaches to coordination within and between ensembles, and the ways in which the musicians' interactions can evoke and convey Shelley's texts. The essay also examines works by Mel Powell, Toru Takemitsu, Witold Lutoslawski, and Pierre Boulez as examples and precursors for the coordination strategies employed in Forgotten Lyres.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Harenda, Timothy
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Monolith: A Piece for Midi Piano, Mixed Sextet, and Fixed Electronics"

Description: Reference to a regular pulse is one of the most common ways of measuring time in music. As the basis for tempo, meter, subdivisions, and even formal symmetry, pulse, or the sonic articulation of regular units of time, is found throughout all levels of music. In this paper, I describe how I used a structure of twelve simultaneous pulses to compose "Monolith," a recent piece for MIDI piano, Pierrot ensemble, and fixed electronics. In the first chapter, I contextualize "Monolith" by briefly examining pulse's relationship to hierarchical structure in music and the possibilities for creativity in pulse-based hierarchical structures. In the second chapter, I analyze the use of pulse in Steve Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," György Ligeti's "Self-portrait with Reich and Riley (with Chopin in the background), and Conlon Nancarrow's "Study No. 36 for Player Piano." In the third chapter, I describe in detail the relationship between the twelve-pulse structure and the various movements that comprise "Monolith," focusing on the relationship between compositional freedom and prescribed structure throughout the work.
Date: August 2017
Creator: Vaughn, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Full Armor of God

Description: The Full Armor of God is a musical composition based on the apostle Paul's comparison in Ephesians 6:10-20 between armor for physical combat and armor for spiritual warfare. The instrumentation consists of the following: oboe/English horn, bassoon, two violins, viola, cello, and bass. Texts on Roman armor as well as commentaries and sermons on the scriptures were consulted for the basis of the musical materials. The piece combines imagery and historical associations with abstract renderings of both the physical and the spiritual.
Date: August 1997
Creator: Lawrence, Nicholas A. (Nicholas Alan)
Partner: UNT Libraries

Loose Id for Orchestra

Description: Loose Id, scored for orchestra (piccolo, 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 2 clarinets in B-flat, B-flat contrabass clarinet, 2 bassoons, contrabassoon, 4 horns in F, 3 trumpets in B-flat, 2 trombones, 1 bass trombone, tuba, timpani, percussion (3 parts), violin I, violin II, viola, violoncello, and contrabass), is an abstract realization in sound of the energy of the Id. Unleashed, without the counterbalance of Ego or Superego, the Id generates unbridled instinctual energy, resulting in an orgiastic frenzy. Distinct from a state of dementia, this piece represents a thoroughly lucid and intentional rampage of self-indulgence. The accompanying essay examines the underlying structural principles of Loose Id, focusing on how they aid the creation of the overall experience of the piece. Particular attention is given to the concepts of linearity and nonlinearity and their roles in different levels of creative and listening processes.
Date: August 1996
Creator: Bryant, Steven 1972-
Partner: UNT Libraries

Sonic "Alchemy": An Original Composition for Piano and Electronics with Critical Essay

Description: This paper presents the history and the theoretical study of mixed music and focuses on two piano solo works and two mixed electroacoustic compositions for piano and electronics. By discussing the working process and giving the analysis of the original composition Alchemy for piano and electronics, this paper investigates the relationship between cause, source and spectromorphology, reflecting how the concept of energy-motion trajectory are embodied in this mixed electroacoustic work. Alchemy is a mixed composition for piano solo and 8-channel fixed electronics focusing on the gestural play and sonic expression. The live piano part explores the gestural sound played with a slide (cup), paper clip, and objects placed inside the piano. The 8-channel electronics part is mainly derived from the recorded acoustic piano. It extends the sonic potential of source materials and presents the diverse vectorial movements of spatialization.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Wen, Bihe
Partner: UNT Libraries

Cosmophonia: Musical Expressions of Astronomy and Cosmology

Description: Astronomy and music are both fundamental to cultural identity in the form of various musical styles and calendrical systems. However, since both are governed by incontrovertible laws of physics and therefore precede cultural interpretation, they are potentially useful for insight into the common ground of a shared humanity. This paper discusses three compositions inspired by different aspects of astronomy: Solstitium e Equinoctium, a site-specific composition for four voices and metal pipes involving an inclusive communal musical ritual and sonic meditation; Helios, a short symphonic work inspired by helioseismology; and Perspectives, a piece for soprano and percussion based on a logarithmic map of the universe.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Difalco, Elaine Celleste
Partner: UNT Libraries