Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • Betsy Jolas's Musical Language

    Author:
    Desamparados Fabra Crespo
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    David Olan
    Abstract:

    American-French composer Betsy Jolas (b.1926) has been an outstanding figure in the contemporary musical scene, developing a successful career for over sixty years as a composer and pedagogue in a field traditionally reserved for men. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards by prominent institutions, especially in France and the United States, and yet her name is rarely mentioned in historical texts on French music and contemporary composers. A remarkably imaginative artist, she has offered new perspectives to traditional approaches to melody, harmony, texture and form. Jolas has also contributed significantly to the contemporary scene, particularly to the re-establishment of prominence of melody with her demonstration of the importance of pitch and pitch family over previously prominent serial techniques, which have privileged pitch class or set class. She has also recovered traditional rules for harmony and counterpoint, while reconstructing them as contemporary sonorities. Her textures reveal a great respect and admiration for the masters of the Renaissance. Jolas's methods of setting text in music link directly to those of Robert Schumann, and like him she reinterprets poetry through music. The structure of Jolas's works owes its clarity to classicism, although the layering of the sections links more directly to composers such as Alban Berg, and his idea of building several climaxes that grow in waves within a piece. Jolas also pays tribute to other contemporary composers and pieces, for instance Schoenberg's Pierrot Lunaire, borrowing and treating the elder composer's music in a way that shows her admiration and her explorations into new melodic and textural territory. Many of Jolas's orchestrational attributes are related to her specific propensity for exchanging the roles of instrumental and vocal parts, i.e., giving the instrument a traditionally vocal or "speaking" role, or the vocalist an instrumental flavor. She brings her own life and daily experiences of sound to her music; seemingly only those sonorities that belong to her intimate universe are present in her work. The intent of this dissertation is identifying and documenting key elements of Jolas's compositional technique based on a review of central works and interviews with the composer.

  • Aspects of Adaptation in the Egyptian Singing Film

    Author:
    Margaret Farrell
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Jane Sugarman
    Abstract:

    This dissertation explores aspects of adaptation in the Egyptian singing film in the period from 1932 to 1962. The primary types of adaptation examined are those that are evident in the stories the films told, the ways in which the songs functioned within the stories, and the music for which these films formed the setting. Research was conducted through the viewing of over sixty Egyptian films as well as time spent in Cairo to study Arabic language and music, and to collect primary sources in the form of films, press books, books, and periodicals. The goal of this study is to deepen our understanding of both the films and the music they feature as creative examples of adaptation that resulted in stories that resonated with Egyptian values and humor, and music that appealed to Egyptian taste. This examination also affords us the opportunity to consider the nature of cultural objects when they are adapted for use outside of their culture of origin. In the case of the movie musical, this study reveals that while plot structures, usually considered central to the identification of a film genre, were altered to suit local tastes and values, songs functioned within the plots in very similar ways to those featured in Hollywood musicals of the same period. This fact suggests a refinement of the definition of the movie musical in an international context that emphasizes the function of the films to present musical performance. The songs themselves exhibit hybrid tendencies that incorporate elements borrowed from Western popular and classical musical practice within compositions that adhere to Arab practice regarding intonation and overall structure. Finally, this study is intended as a case study in narrative musical film outside the Hollywood system. As such, it seeks to add to the growing literature on this topic and provide a perspective that is informed by various scholarly disciplines including film studies, anthropology, and comparative literature. Considering both film and musical genres can reveal essential characteristics of the adapted objects as well as values and tastes that are important to the culture that adapted them.

  • Old World Influence on New World Music: Candelario Huízar's Imágenes

    Author:
    Joshua Feltman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    David Olan
    Abstract:

    Imágenes, an orchestral tone poem by Mexican composer Candelario Huízar, is an example of early twentieth-century Mexican orchestral writing (ca. 1910-1920) that sits on the cusp between the French-influenced music of the Porfiriato (ca. 1890-1910) and the folk- inflected Nationalism that followed after the 1920's. An historical, stylistic, and analytical study of the work places it in the context of other works of the period. A new annotated edition of the work is based on available resources, including historical information and manuscript sources.

  • HAIRY DRUMS, LIVE SAMPLING: ETHOS PERCUSSION GROUP COMMISSIONS OF 2004 AND THEIR "EXTRA-CONSERVATORY" ELEMENTS

    Author:
    Frederick Files III
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Shaugn O'Donnell
    Abstract:

    Since 1999 Ethos Percussion Group has commissioned more than two dozen works for percussion quartet. The majority of these commissions incorporate instruments and musical vocabulary not commonly found in the Western chamber music tradition. This aspect of Ethos's commissioned repertoire reflects the ensemble's collective personality, as its members have augmented their conservatory training and "classical" performing experiences with extensive forays into popular and non-Western idioms. Gaby Kerpel's Charangueando and Michael Markus's Suli Ti Nani, the two compositions commissioned and premiered by Ethos in 2004, exemplify the ensemble's efforts to integrate its members' experiences with popular and folk music into a chamber music setting. The pieces incorporate a variety of "extra-conservatory" elements, including hand drumming, folk instruments from Argentina and Guinea, improvisation, ethnic rhythmic concepts, and electronic sampling via a laptop and MIDI controller. The extra-conservatory nature of these compositions extends to the manner in which Kerpel and Markus presented them to Ethos, as they relied heavily on sample recordings or rote transmission. Although these methods were supplemented with limited notation, neither composer produced a traditional score. Many of Ethos's commissions have been published and are often performed by collegiate ensembles. However, the lack of scores for Charangueando and Suli Ti Nani, coupled with a general unfamiliarity with many of the instruments and techniques necessary for their performance, has rendered them inaccessible to other performers. This unfortunate situation has troubled me for years, as the works' musical and pedagogic merits certainly justify inclusion in the percussion ensemble canon. The purpose of this dissertation is to facilitate and promote the performance of Charangueando and Suli Ti Nani by ensembles other than Ethos. The written portion includes scores for each piece, biographical information on the composers, descriptions of how the scores were developed, and examinations of analytical and performance issues designed to help classically-trained performers address the extra-conservatory elements found in each piece. This text is accompanied by a data disc containing a variety of supplemental media that may also be found on the following web pages: http://www.treyfiles.com/charangueando.html and http://www.treyfiles.com/sulitinani.html.

  • The Bernard Ouchard Bow-Making School in Mirecourt, France, from 1971 to 1981

    Author:
    Olivier Fluchaire
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Ora Frishberg Saloman
    Abstract:

    Although a violin bow may appear less important than a violin, it is the tool that allows string players to communicate musical expression. Not until the late eighteenth century was it considered to be more than just an accessory sold with a violin. From the early nineteenth century, French bow-makers have led the way in bow-making as proven by their legacy. The French bow-makers of the Tourte family are credited with the establishment of what is now known as the modern bow. But following the First and Second World Wars in the early twentieth century, the tradition of French bow-making, which had been transmitted orally from generation to generation, was nearly lost. In 1971, the French government opened the first official bow-making class with a three-year curriculum under the supervision of Bernard Ouchard (1925-1979) at the Lycée Vuillaume in Mirecourt, France. From 1971 to 1981, the school trained nineteen bow- makers and the superior work of its graduates proves that the goal of keeping this long- standing French tradition has been achieved.

  • The Bernard Ouchard Bow-Making School in Mirecourt, France, from 1971 to 1981

    Author:
    Olivier Fluchaire
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Ora Frishberg Saloman
    Abstract:

    Although a violin bow may appear less important than a violin, it is the tool that allows string players to communicate musical expression. Not until the late eighteenth century was it considered to be more than just an accessory sold with a violin. From the early nineteenth century, French bow-makers have led the way in bow-making as proven by their legacy. The French bow-makers of the Tourte family are credited with the establishment of what is now known as the modern bow. But following the First and Second World Wars in the early twentieth century, the tradition of French bow-making, which had been transmitted orally from generation to generation, was nearly lost. In 1971, the French government opened the first official bow-making class with a three-year curriculum under the supervision of Bernard Ouchard (1925-1979) at the Lycée Vuillaume in Mirecourt, France. From 1971 to 1981, the school trained nineteen bow- makers and the superior work of its graduates proves that the goal of keeping this long- standing French tradition has been achieved.

  • The Triple Oboe Concerto by Theodor von Schacht (1748-1823): A Critical Edition with Notes on Performance Practice, an Analysis Based on the Theories of Heinrich Christoph Koch, and an Account of the Musical Establishment at the Court of Thurn und Taxis

    Author:
    John Frisch
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Bruce MacIntyre
    Abstract:

    Baron Theodor von Schacht (1748–1823), who from 1773 to 1805 oversaw the music program for the Thurn und Taxis court based in Regensburg, composed numerous concertos and concertantes for woodwinds, including a work for three solo oboes, his “Concertante a Tre Oboi Principale.” Written ca. 1790, the autograph manuscript of this work is housed in the Fürst Thurn und Taxis Hofbibliothek as “D-Rtt Schacht 46,” and its RISM ID/AN is 450.010.951. This dissertation sets the work in context with a brief history of the court and a more extensive account of its musical establishment drawn from contemporaneous accounts (memoirs, surviving rosters, and lexicon entries), including profiles of many of its illustrious musicians (especially the principal oboist Giovanni Palestrini, 1744–1823). Schacht's autograph score and the editorial principles for the critical edition are described. The critical edition is supported by detailed and illustrated appendixes that expose the editorial process. Additionally, performance matters concerning period practice are addressed, including proclivities of the classical hautboy and archaic notational and interpretive practices. Because the structure of the work is complex and Schacht's compositional style exemplifies many of the phrasal expansion techniques described by the theorist Heinrich Christoph Koch (1749–1816), detailed analyses of the work's three movements are provided in light of Koch's theories to provide guidance for performing this triple concerto. This work is exceptional by virtue of Schacht's prolific melodic invention and virtuosic use of compounding techniques.

  • RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913

    Author:
    James Greening
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Richard Kramer
    Abstract:

    Abstract RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913 by James Greening Advisor: Professor Allan Atlas This dissertation deals with Ruggero Leoncavallo's two trips to the United States--and New York in particular--in 1906 and 1913. It looks at those trips mainly through the lens of the press, both musical and daily, national and local, with the Appendix providing complete press notices drawn from the collection of Leoncavallo materials at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts. Briefly, Leoncavallo scored an enormous success in New York, as he did throughout the rest of the United States during these highly publicized tours. The study also touches on the New York premieres of Pagliacci and three of Leoncavallo's other operas: La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. In all, the dissertation sheds new light not only on Leoncavallo's career, but also on a compelling and important time for the growth and development of opera in New York City. Chapter 1 deals with Leoncavallo's 1906 tour to New York and other cities in the United States and Canada. Chapter 2 outlines his 1913 visit to New York (including a lengthy and important interview), as well as the reception of Zazà and Zingari on the West Coast and in Chicago. Chapter 3 discusses the success of Pagliacci, its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, and its American reception in general. Chapter 4 deals with the New York premieres of La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. The dissertation concludes with an Appendix of 105 newspaper and journal articles that form the documentary basis of the study.

  • RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913

    Author:
    James Greening
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Richard Kramer
    Abstract:

    Abstract RUGGERO LEONCAVALLO IN NEW YORK AND OTHER AMERICAN CITIES: 1906 AND 1913 by James Greening Advisor: Professor Allan Atlas This dissertation deals with Ruggero Leoncavallo's two trips to the United States--and New York in particular--in 1906 and 1913. It looks at those trips mainly through the lens of the press, both musical and daily, national and local, with the Appendix providing complete press notices drawn from the collection of Leoncavallo materials at the Lincoln Center Library of the Performing Arts. Briefly, Leoncavallo scored an enormous success in New York, as he did throughout the rest of the United States during these highly publicized tours. The study also touches on the New York premieres of Pagliacci and three of Leoncavallo's other operas: La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. In all, the dissertation sheds new light not only on Leoncavallo's career, but also on a compelling and important time for the growth and development of opera in New York City. Chapter 1 deals with Leoncavallo's 1906 tour to New York and other cities in the United States and Canada. Chapter 2 outlines his 1913 visit to New York (including a lengthy and important interview), as well as the reception of Zazà and Zingari on the West Coast and in Chicago. Chapter 3 discusses the success of Pagliacci, its premiere at the Metropolitan Opera, and its American reception in general. Chapter 4 deals with the New York premieres of La Bohème, Zazà, and Edipo Re. The dissertation concludes with an Appendix of 105 newspaper and journal articles that form the documentary basis of the study.

  • His Jelly Roll Soul: Revising and reclaiming the past, the minstrel mask, and the communal blast in Charles Mingus's Jazz Workshop AND Dream President: a pocket opera

    Author:
    Jennifer Griffith
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Jeffrey Taylor
    Abstract:

    Composer, bandleader, and bassist Charles Mingus was among the earliest modern jazz figures to dialogue with New Orleans-style jazz. His musical language included the idiom in a continuum of jazz, linking New Orleans collective improvisation to the avant-garde players of the 1960s. During the mid-century jazz wars between modernist and moldy fig, Mingus invoked the early era's heritage through Jelly Roll Morton in "My Jelly Roll Soul," (Atlantic, 1959), "Jelly Roll" (Columbia, 1959), and an arrangement of Morton's "Wolverine Blues" (Gennett, 1923). Mingus commented on contemporary attitudes toward his predecessors within an environment not well-disposed to them. Yet, even as the legacies of minstrelsy in the entertainment styles of Morton, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller shaped Mingus's performative identity, his unpublished writings and onstage manner reflect an alternative black male performativity. The testimony of Jazz Workshop members and Mingus's own statements reveal his philosophy and identity as leader and teacher, and emphasize a reverence for the collective spirit. In the intersection of compositional and improvisational techniques in mid-to late-1950s recordings ("Dizzy's Moods," "Jump Monk," and "Wednesday Night Prayer Meeting"), this emphasis shows a progression from short sections of group interplay reminiscent of early jazz to improvisation within extended forms that invoke the ecstatic communal events he heard as a youth in the Holiness church. AND As a former U.S. President sits in a hotel room, watching TV and reflecting, three women--Red, White and Blue--visit him. They muse about the former president and explore their disillusionment around social change, their anxieties about the political climate and their dreams and fantasies about the president. The dream arias reflect benevolently on the President's personal charisma while the waking monologues take moral stock of his presidency.