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Ensemble: 2001-11-05 - Global Rhythms

Description: Ensemble performance at the UNT College of Music Winspear Hall.
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Date: November 5, 2001
Creator: 2:00 Steel Drum Band; Afro-Cuban/Brazilian Ensemble; South Indian Cross Cultural Ensemble & Percussion Ensemble
Partner: UNT Music Library

The Snare Drum as a Solo Concert Instrument: An In-Depth Study of Works by Milton Babbitt, John Cage, Dan Senn, and Stuart Saunders Smith, Together with Three Recitals of Selected Works by Keiko Abe, Daniel Levitan, Askell Masson, Karlheinz Stockhausen, and Others

Description: This dissertation discusses the potential of the snare drum as a solo concert instrument. Four pieces from a collection entitled The Noble Snare are used for demonstration ("Homily" by Milton Babbitt, "Composed Improvisation for Snare Drum" by John Cage, "Peeping Tom" by Dan Senn, and "The Noble Snare" by Stuart Saunders Smith). In the absence of many traditional musical devices (i.e. melody and harmony), alternative means of expression are used by the composer. Each piece is discussed with regard to its distinctive compositional approach and inherent performance issues. Information is also given pertaining to the background of the Noble Snare series. This includes: the inspiration for the project, editorial issues, and its influence on snare drum performance. Much of this research was completed through interviews by with author with Sylvia Smith, publisher of The Noble Snare and owner of Smith Publications.
Date: December 2004
Creator: Baker, Jason Colby
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

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

The 1986 National Endowment for the Arts Commission: An Introspective Analysis of Two Marimba Works

Description: The marimba is rapidly achieving greater importance as a solo percussion instrument. Solo compositions for the marimba have been commissioned and performed only in the last sixty years. The 1986 National Endowment for the Arts Solo Marimba Commission is considered one of the most important commissioning projects in the history of marimba literature. Two compositions created through this project, Velocities by Joseph Schwantner and Reflections on the Nature of Water by Jacob Druckman have become two of the most influential works in contemporary marimba music. This thesis will focus on a historical perspective of the project, as well as theoretical aspects and performance issues related to these two compositions. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) issued a consortium commissioning grant through the Percussive Arts Society (PAS) in 1986 to three internationally renowned marimbists, William Moersch, Leigh Howard Stevens and Gordon Stout. Three Pulitzer Prize winners were brought together to compose three new works for the marimba. The resulting pieces were: Reflections on the Nature of Water by Jacob Druckman, Velocities by Joseph Schwantner, and Islands from Archipelago: Autumn Island by Roger Reynolds. A brief history of the classical concert marimba and the development of solo marimba literature is provided in the second chapter. The fourth and fifth chapters provide individual information about the pieces, including concise biographical information about the composers and an analysis of the two compositions.
Date: August 2005
Creator: Fang, I-Jen
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