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Investigation, Interpretation, and Internalization in Milton Babbitt's Concerto Piccolino for Vibraphone

Description: Written in 1999, Concerto Piccolino is a part of the Composer's Guild of New Jersey Vibraphone Commission, which contains a collection of twelve soli written exclusively for vibraphone. Concerto Piccolino presents vibrant opportunities for both performer and listener to experience the compositional world of Milton Babbitt. With its limited register, ability to control duration and create extreme dynamics, the vibraphone serves as an appropriate vehicle for Babbitt's multi-dimensional style. The intent of this study is to first situate this work into Babbitt's compositional output as well as referencing Babbitt's other works for solo percussion. Next, an investigation into the background structure will provide a recommended analytical framework. Included is a performance guide for how these structures should be realized via surface materials throughout the interpretive and internalization stages of the work. Examining a recommended progression from analysis through performance will demonstrate Concerto Piccolino's significance and proper place in the standard repertoire of percussion. The study concludes with discussing connections to pedagogy and how the importance of Babbitt's work, as well as other composers of serious music, is vital to the forward progress of music performance.
Date: December 2018
Creator: Yakas, James
Partner: UNT Libraries

Depiction through Evocation, Representation, and Introspection: An Examination of David Maslanka's Unaccompanied Marimba Solos

Description: The primary purpose of this study is to provide connections between a formal motivic analysis and the programmatic content of David Maslanka's three works for unaccompanied marimba: Variations on Lost Love (1977), My Lady White (1980), and A Solemn Music (2013). A comparison of the compositional process of each of these works is proposed through terms of Maslanka's use of depiction. Depiction is the action or result of representing through drawing, painting, or other art form, in this case, music. In each work for unaccompanied marimba, Maslanka uses this process of depiction in a unique way. The depictive mediums are categorized as evocative, representative, and introspective and these distinct approaches to depiction lead to three drastically different musical works. The different methods of depicting source materials are the distinguishing characteristics that separate these three works for solo marimba. This document includes a motivic analysis and comparisons of compositional devices used in these three works. A brief overview of Maslanka's life and works as well as a listing of all of his works that feature percussion instruments are also included.
Date: August 2018
Creator: Robinson, Corey Richard
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Art of Marimba Articulation: A Guide for Composers, Conductors, and Percussionists on the Expressive Capabilities of the Marimba

Description: Articulation is an element of musical performance that affects the attack, sustain, and the decay of each sound. Musical articulation facilitates the degree of clarity between successive notes and it is one of the most important elements of musical expression. Many believe that the expressive capabilities of percussion instruments, when it comes to musical articulation, are limited. Because the characteristic attack for most percussion instruments is sharp and clear, followed by a quick decay, the common misconception is that percussionists have little or no control over articulation. While the ability of percussionists to affect the sustain and decay of a sound is by all accounts limited, the ability of percussionists to change the attack of a sound with different implements is virtually limitless. In addition, where percussion articulation is limited, there are many techniques that allow performers to match articulation with other instruments. Still, percussion articulation is often a topic of little concern to many musicians. The problem is not that this issue has been completely ignored, but rather that a vast number of contradictory and conflicting viewpoints still permeate pedagogical methods and literature. This is most certainly the case with the marimba, where a review of method books reveals a multitude of confusing statements about marimba articulation. It is clear that there is still widespread confusion about marimba articulation from composers, conductors, and most importantly percussionists themselves. This study attempts to advance percussion pedagogy in this area through a better understanding of the terminology of musical articulation, the acoustical principles of the marimba, and the techniques that affect sound production on this instrument. After a review of these three areas, this study examines 166 recordings, which look at the actual effect of specific techniques carried out on the marimba. Finally, the project offers a set of recommendations for composers, ...
Date: August 2018
Creator: Davis, Adam Benjamin
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Drum Music": A Performance Guide and Discussion of John Mackey's Influential Concerto for the Modern Percussionist

Description: John Mackey is an influential and prolific composer of wind band literature. His focus on and exploration of the percussion section are defining characteristics of his compositional voice. Mackey's concerto for percussion and wind band, "Drum Music," is a perfect example of his exploitation of the myriad timbres available within the percussion family, and also serves to showcase the versatility required of a modern percussionist. This dissertation and accompanying lecture recital provide a comprehensive guide for performers of the work. Major aspects of Mackey's compositional approach are discussed with emphasis placed on his use of percussion throughout his works. Analysis and performance concerns are discussed for each of the concertos three movements, and information is provided on the reduced version of the work prepared as part of this study.
Date: August 2017
Creator: McWilliams, Christopher Wayne
Partner: UNT Libraries

A Motivic Analysis and Performance Practices of "Akrodha" (1998) by Kevin Volans, including Comparative Analyses of "She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket" (1985) and "Asanga" (1997)

Description: This dissertation presents an analysis of Akrodha (1998), a multiple percussion solo in two movements, composed by Kevin Volans. The analysis is focused on the motivic content and subsequent iterations written within the tempos that provide the structural form of the piece. The structural tempos are supported by the presence of various motifs that serve as the tempos' characteristic traits, thereby giving the tempos more tangibility. As the work develops, these motifs reappear either as note-for-note reiterations or as variations that still maintain the unique qualities of the motifs. For comparison, similar analyses of Mr. Volans' other multiple percussion solos, She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket (1985) and Asanga (1997), are also presented to further explore Mr. Volans' use of motifs as they relate to structural tempos. In addition, a comprehensive performance practice of Akrodha is presented based on a synthesis of considerations and methods from individuals involved in the piece's development and early performances. These include Dr. Volans himself, Jonny Axelsson (for whom Akrodha was written), and Robyn Schulkowsky (for whom She Who Sleeps with a Small Blanket and Asanga were written), as well as the author's personal experiences. This dissertation provides a deeper understanding of Akrodha for the scholar and provides performance guidance for the performer to enhance the ability to replicate the musical spirit of Kevin Volans' compositional intentions.
Date: May 2017
Creator: Feerst, Timothy A.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Orchestra Bells as a Chamber and Solo Instrument: A Survey of Works by Steve Reich, Morton Feldman, Franco Donatoni, Robert Morris, Marta Ptaszyńska, Will Ogdon, Stuart Saunders Smith, Lafayette Gilchrist and Roscoe Mitchell

Description: This dissertation considers the use of orchestra bells as a solo instrument. I use three examples taken from chamber literature (Drumming by Steve Reich, Why Patterns? by Morton Feldman, and Ave by Franco Donatoni) to demonstrate uses of the instrument in an ensemble setting. I use six solo, unaccompanied orchestra bell pieces (Twelve Bell Canons by Robert Morris, Katarynka by Marta Ptaszyńska, Over by Stuart Saunders Smith, A Little Suite and an Encore Tango by Will Ogdon, Breaks Through by Lafayette Gilchrist, and Bells for New Orleans by Roscoe Mitchell) to illustrate the instrument’s expressive, communicative ability. In the discussion of each piece, I include brief background information, the composer’s musical language in the piece and performance considerations. I interviewed composers of these solo works to complete the research for this document to discuss their musical language and their thoughts on writing for solo orchestra bells.
Date: May 2016
Creator: Douglass, Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries

Áskell Másson’s Solos for Snare Drum: Maximizing Musical Expression Through Varying Compositional Techniques and Experimentation in Timbre

Description: This dissertation and accompanying lecture recital explores the musical elements present in Áskell Másson’s three solos for snare drum, PRÍM (1984), KÍM (2001) and B2B: Back to Basics (2010). Two of the primary challenges for the performer when playing solo literature on a non-pitch oriented instrument are identifying thematic structures and understanding how to interpret all innovative sound production techniques employed within the music. A thematic and compositional analysis, as well as an investigation into the experimentation of timbre found in Másson’s three pieces for solo snare drum will help to clarify the musical complexities that are present throughout.
Date: December 2015
Creator: O’Neal, John Micheal
Partner: UNT Libraries

Diet of southern toads (Bufo terrestris) in loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands subject to coarse woody debris manipulations.

Description: ABSTRACT In the southeastern United States, coarse woody debris (CWD) typically harbors high densities of invertebrates. However, its importance as a foraging substrate for southeastern amphibians is relatively unknown. We examined effects of CWD manipulations on diet composition of southern toads (Bufo terrestris) in upland loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) stands in the Coastal Plain of South Carolina. Twelve 9.3-ha plots were assigned one of the following treatments: removal- all CWD _10 cm in diameter and _60 cm long removed; downed- five-fold increase in volume of down CWD; and unmanipulated control stands. We collected southern toads _4 cm snout-vent length (SVL) during 14 d sampling periods in June and October 2002, June 2003 and during a 28 d sampling period in April 2003. We collected 80, 36 and 35 southern toads in control, downed and removal treatments, respectively. We found no difference in relative abundance or frequency of invertebrate groups consumed among treatments (P.0.05). Average body weight (g), SVL (cm) and stomach content weight (g wet) of individuals also were similar among treatments (P . 0.05). The role of CWD as a foraging substrate for southern toads in loblolly pine stands of the southeastern Coastal Plain may be negligible, at least in the early stages of decay.
Date: April 1, 2005
Creator: Moseley, Kurtis R.; Castleberry, Steven B.; Hanula, James L. & Ford., Mark
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Temporality and Rhythmic Structure in Thirteen Drums by Maki Ishii and Rebond a by Iannis Xenakis

Description: This dissertation will focus on the concepts of musical time of two solo multiple-percussion compositions, Thirteen Drums (1985) by Maki Ishii and Rebond A (1987-1989) by Iannis Xenakis. The aesthetic experience of musical works is tied to the perception of musical time. Performers have to understand the concepts and methods of construction of musical time in order to interpreting composer’s works. The model of cognitive process in neuroscience of music and the information processing theory from cognitive psychology is provided to explain the perception of musical time and its importance to the aesthetic experience of music. The rhythmic structure, which is essential in temporal structure to the perception of musical time, is examined in depth to show its significant influence on the aesthetic experience in both works. Rhythmic tension will also affect the aesthetic experience.
Date: August 2014
Creator: Liu, Yi-Jan
Partner: UNT Libraries

Rhythmic Consonance and Dissonance in Eckhard Kopetzki’s Works for Solo Percussion: Topf-tanz and Canned Heat

Description: This study examines the compositional devices Eckhard Kopetzki used to create consonance and dissonance throughout his two works for solo percussion, Topf-Tanz and Canned Heat. By manipulating meter, ostinato, syncopation, polyrhythm, note values and overlapping figures, Kopetzki creates high levels of musical tension and release that shape phrase structure and large-scale form. After a discussion of rhythmic consonance and dissonance, and specific rhythmic devices, both works are considered in detail, illuminating the composer’s compositional language. Topf-Tanz is an exploration of contrasting ideas: the rhythmic and the lyrical, the call and the response, the loud and the soft. It is manifested first in the opposition of antecedent and consequent phrases and second in the overlapping of contrasting metric ideas, which creates prolonged rhythmic dissonance. Canned Heat, on the other hand, is composed through a process of continuing melodic variation. Throughout the piece, melodic motives are prolonged and abridged, creating both delay and acceleration to cadential figures. In contrast to these melodic ideas, each phrase is concluded with stark and syncopated rhythmic punctuations. Topf-Tanz and Canned Heat share Kopetzki’s creation of rhythmic consonance and dissonance. Most notably is the overlapping of contrasting metric ideas between the two hands, and highlighting this contrast through the use of two contrasting instrument families; skin and metal. On the large scale, both works progress from of a place of rhythmic consonance to one of dissonance.
Date: December 2014
Creator: Hampton, Walter Ellis
Partner: UNT Libraries

Yoichi Hiraoka: His Artistic Life and His Influence on the Art of Xylophone Performance

Description: Yoichi Hiraoka was an amazing Japanese xylophone player who had significant influence on the development of the xylophone as a solo instrument. The purpose of this dissertation is to collect and record evidence of Mr. Hiraoka, to examine his distinguished efforts to promote the xylophone, to investigate his influences on keyboard percussion literature, and to contribute to the development of the art of keyboard percussion performance as a whole. This dissertation addresses Yoichi Hiraoka’s artistic life, his commissioned pieces, and his influence on the art of xylophone performance. Analyses of two of his most influential commissioned works, Alan Hovhaness’ Fantasy on Japanese Wood Prints and Toshiro Mayuzumi’s Concertino for Xylophone Solo and Orchestra, are also included to illustrate the art of the xylophone, and to explain why Hiraoka did not play all of his commissioned works.
Date: August 2013
Creator: Goto, Akiko
Partner: UNT Libraries