Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • A Structural Approach to the Analysis of Rock Music

    Author:
    Drew Nobile
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Mark Spicer
    Abstract:

    This dissertation situates itself in the middle of an ongoing debate about the applicability of Schenkerian analytical techniques to the analysis of pop and rock music. In particular, it investigates ways in which the standard conceptions of voice leading, harmonic function, and counterpoint may be updated to better apply to this new repertoire. A central claim is that voice-leading structure is intimately related to formal structure such that the two domains are mutually informing. Part I of the dissertation focuses on harmonic and melodic theory. Chapter 2, "Harmonic Syntax," advocates for a conception of harmonic function based on syntax and form rather than the identity of specific chords. In this conception, chords other than V, such as IV, II, flat-VII, or even some versions of I, can often be said to function syntactically as the dominant. Chapter 3, "The Melodic-Harmonic Divorce," explores contrapuntal paradigms in which the domains of melody and harmony seem to be operating independently. This chapter outlines three types of melodic-harmonic divorce: "hierarchy divorce," "rotation divorce," and "syntax divorce." Part II of the dissertation aims to devise voice-leading models for full song forms. Chapter 4 focuses on AABA form, Chapter 5 on verse-prechorus-chorus, and Chapter 6 on verse-chorus forms. These chapters demonstrate that these common forms are associated with general voice-leading structures that act in dialog with the specific voice-leading structures of songs that exhibit these forms. This part of the dissertation is largely analytical, and has the secondary goal of demonstrating a Schenkerian analytical methodology applied to rock music.

  • Music, Sin, and Redemption in Victorian Visual Culture and Literature

    Author:
    Julia O'Connell
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Barbara Hanning
    Abstract:

    "Music, Sin, and Redemption in Victorian Visual Culture" seeks to identify the ancient theological tropes of the identification of music with sin and of its abandonment with spiritual conversion, and to demonstrate the cultural persistence of these tropes into the modern era. The appearance of music symbolism in the socially-committed, quasi-religious paintings of the Pre-Raphaelites and their circle, especially in works that treat the prominent Victorian theme of the "fallen" woman, provides evidence that music's connection to both sin and redemption survived at least as late as the nineteenth century, and that, even more remarkably, it was translated fairly easily into the cultural lexicon (Protestant, materialist) of Victorian Britain. My study examines this type of music iconography in close readings of the paintings "The Awakening Conscience" (1853) by William Holman Hunt and "Take Your Son, Sir" (1851-1892, unfinished) by Ford Madox Brown. Moreover, the association of the abandonment of music with religious awakening (a process of conversion that, in Renaissance iconography, evokes the symbolism of both Saint Cecilia abandoning worldly music Mary Magdalene abandoning music altogether) found its way into the narratives of at least two Victorian novels, George Moore's Evelyn Innes and Sister Teresa, as well as giving a formal structure to the notable religious conversion of pianist and composer Hermann Cohen, who laid aside worldly music to become a Carmelite priest. Compounding the persistence of the music-sin-redemption topos in visual and literary culture, advances in audio technology in the nineteenth century elevated the sense of hearing to a new level of importance, giving the idea of religious conversion accomplished "through the ear" (as, I argue, the famous fourth-century conversion of Saint Augustine was) a place in both the Victorian imagination and in the historical narrative.

  • A History of the Performance Practice of Mozart's Fantasie and Sonata K. 475/457

    Author:
    Mikako Ogata
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Raymond Erickson
    Abstract:

    The pieces chosen for the discussion, the Fantasie and Sonata in C minor, K. 475/457, are especially well documented in terms of their sources: in addition to the composing autographs and the first edition, there is the so-called dedication copy, a manuscript written by a copyist that was given to Maria von Trattner, to whom the Sonata was dedicated. The discussion will include a close examination of these three primary sources, several editions published during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries (including that edited by Johann Anton André, who owned the autographs at the time), and representative recorded performances from throughout the twentieth century. Thus, the editorial and performance history of the Fantasie and Sonata will be traced from the time of the works' creation to today, revealing interpretive changes through time and providing a solid basis for a modern interpretation of the works based on Mozart's original notation and late-eighteenth-century performance conventions.

  • TONALITY AND CHROMATICISM IN HANS WERNER HENZE'S EARLY OPERAS

    Author:
    Mustak Ozgen
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Philip Rupprecht
    Abstract:

    Abstract TONALITY AND CHROMATICISM IN HANS WERNER HENZE'S EARLY OPERAS by Mustak Zafer Özgen Adviser: Professor Philip Rupprecht Regarded as one of the most prolific twentieth-century composers, Hans Werner Henze is particularly famous for his remarkable output for the stage. Yet, current music scholarship, particularly in English speaking countries, responds to Henze's operas only sporadically. Studies in German, understandably more in quantity, approach his operas from a limited analytical perspective resulting in an incomplete understanding of dramatic issues. Devoting more attention to librettos as the primary source of dramatic content, these studies remain at the descriptive level in their consideration of the music, and neglect a thorough analysis of the musical textures in their entirety. Taking four operas composed in the ten-year period from 1955 to 1965 as its point of departure, the present study examines characteristic elements of Henze's musical language in order to clarify issues related to dramatic action. Henze recalls his growing frustration with the music aesthetic views cultivated during this period, which he considers as his break with the aesthetic aspirations of the so-called Darmstadt School. Coupled with his permanent move to Italy, the polarity he claims to have existed around mid-twentieth century marks a change in Henze's aesthetic views. The operas considered in this study reflect a rejection of the modernist concerns. But Henze does not abandon serial techniques categorically; rather he refrains from a dogmatic approach to serial techniques and combines them with other styles. My analyses concentrate specifically on strategies of creating tonal allusions, closely related to his idiosyncratic twelve-tone technique, and the typically dissonant stratified textures that recur in the operas under investigation. Particularly in Der Prinz von Homburg and The Bassarids Henze tackles the task of uniting his twelve-tone method with tonal allusions to delineate dramatic action.

  • A TRANSFORMATIONAL APPROACH TO INVERSIONAL RELATIONS

    Author:
    Ina Park
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Shaugn O'Donnell
    Abstract:

    A TRANSFORMATIONAL APPROACH TO INVERSIONAL RELATIONS Inversion has been explored as an essential device in post-tonal music and discussed in the relevant literature. In particular, many music theorists have demonstrated that inversional symmetry plays a significant role in the music of Bartók, which often includes inversional relations on the musical surface. In many other musical works, however, inversion, or symmetrical inversion, is often ambiguous and not immediately apparent; thus its role is easily overlooked or underestimated. This dissertation argues that inversion may play an important role in pitch organization within a piece or a passage of post-tonal music. Significantly, since inversional relations can more effectively be analyzed by using a transformational approach, at both foreground and background levels, the bulk of this dissertation is thus based in such a transformational approach. Chapter 1 outlines many different methods for defining and illustrating pitch and pitch-class inversion as provided in the analytic literature. Chapter 2 examines symmetrical inversion as it appears in Klumpenhouwer networks which transform into each other among twelve index-zones. This chapter also introduces new axial isographies for tetrachords. Chapter 3 explores inversional relations between pitch-class sets of different sizes, i.e., a trichord and a tetrachord, which are often the important groupings in post-tonal music. Chapter 4 presents specific aspects of symmetrical inversion suggested in Perle's theory of twelve-tone tonality and in his music.

  • Harmony, Form, and Voice Leading in the Mature Works of Antonin Dvorak

    Author:
    Daniel Partridge
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    William Rothstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation attempts to locate the music of Antonin Dvorak in the broader historical context of the late nineteenth century and to trace the way in which his music participated in the development of a late nineteenth century musical style. The dissertation is in three parts, following the three domains of the title: harmony, form, and voice leading. The first part is divided into two chapters, the first of which examines the evolution of Dvorak's harmonic practice through his early New German experimentation, his later engagement with the music of Smetana, and his sympathy toward harmonic aspects of the music of Schubert and Brahms. The second chapter details the way that Dvorak contributed to later nineteenth-century stylistic practice. This is accomplished through the exploration of three primary models: 1) enriched chromatic function (including juxtaposed third-related harmonies, voice leading between different types of seventh chords, and the concept of Mehrdeutigkeit); 2) enriched diatonic function (modal practices, pentatonicism, and non-standard diatonic sonorities through voice leading), and 3) enriched cadential function (which can be either chromatic or diatonic, with a special emphasis on leading-tone substitutions by the submediant and subtonic scale degrees). The second part of the dissertation, concerned with form, is also subdivided into two chapters. The first of these (chapter 3) discusses Dvorak's expansion of sonata form beyond its Classical boundaries. Couched in the nomenclature of Hepokoski and Darcy's Sonata Theory, this chapter is concerned largely with Dvorak's construction of the second group of a sonata (the S- and C-zones), including his treatment of the medial caesura and his approach to expositional (or sonata) closure. Very often, Dvorak's strategies are deformational according to eighteenth-century norms. Chapter 4 is a more detailed exploration of the relationship between Brahms and Dvorak (and their mutual Schubertian inheritance) than has been previously attempted, and draws on biographical and stylistic analysis for its conclusions. The last part, composed of one chapter, is a study of Dvorak's voice-leading practices at middleground levels both within and over sectional boundaries, and concludes with an in-depth analysis of the String Quartet in C Major, op. 61 (1881).

  • An Analytical Study of Bizet's Carmen: Melody, Text Setting, Harmony, and Form

    Author:
    Andrew Pau
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    William Rothstein
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines aspects of the compositional practice of Georges Bizet in his opera Carmen (1875), focusing in particular on the composer's treatment of melody, text setting, harmony, and form. The dissertation situates the music of Carmen in its historical context by examining the extent to which Bizet follows, or departs from, the diverse musical conventions of nineteenth-century French opera. My analyses draw on both historical treatises and current music-theoretical scholarship in the areas of melody, text setting, rhythm, harmony, and form. The dissertation begins with a review of the Parisian press reception of the first run of Carmen, focusing on critical discussions of Bizet's compositional practice. I then examine Bizet's melodic and text-setting practices in light of treatises by Rousseau, Scoppa, Castil-Blaze, and Benloew, and operas by Grétry, Auber, Thomas, and Gounod, among others. I argue that like those earlier French composers, Bizet used rhythm and text setting as a way to differentiate between two different kinds of operatic music: non-diegetic music (singing as speech) and diegetic music (singing as song). I examine Bizet's text-setting practices in both lyrical and diegetic numbers from Carmen and suggest that the binary distinction between these melodic styles is occasionally blurred in the opera. The other main part of the dissertation is an examination of Bizet's use of chromaticism, common-tone tonality (including chromatic third relations), and harmonic dualism in Carmen, focusing on the three duet numbers between Carmen and Don José (the Act I Séguedille and Duo, and the Act II and Act IV duets). I argue that Bizet's use of semitonal linear motion creates motivic references across numbers in Carmen. In addition, these semitonal lines are harmonized throughout the opera in ways that feature different levels of common-tone preservation. Based on my analyses, I suggest that common-tone tonality is associated in Carmen with sensuality and the character of Carmen, while abrupt harmonic changes are associated with impetuosity and, ultimately, violence in Don José. Throughout the study, I examine the ways in which Bizet used the musical codes of nineteenth-century French opera to illuminate the dramatic psychology of his principal characters.

  • The Senator National Cultural Extravaganza of Uganda: A Branded African Traditional Music Competition

    Author:
    David Pier
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Stephen Blum
    Abstract:

    The 2006 Senator National Cultural Extravaganza of Uganda was a traditional music and dance competition sponsored by East Africa Breweries Ltd. (EABL). Participants in the competition were required to praise EABL's Senator Extra Lager brand in songs and dances. Unlike other Ugandan competitions and staid nationalist celebrations of folk culture around the world, the Senator Festival consisted of raucous events designed to draw drinking crowds in rural towns and trading centers. Based on fieldwork conducted at events, rehearsals, and administrative planning sessions, this dissertation explores how rural amateur musicians, women's group leaders, judges, administrators, and beer marketers pursued artistic, educational, and commercial goals in and around the Festival. It focuses particularly on middle-brow producers of culture who tend to be overlooked because they are neither isolated bearers of authentic traditions, nor contributors to an international avant-garde. This study illuminates a large field of "traditional" culture production in a neoliberal Africa that is characterized by the expansion of capitalism to the "bottom of the pyramid," and by development discourses celebrating entrepreneurialism, democracy, women's empowerment, and cultural diversity. Also discussed are extensions and interferences of pre-colonial, colonial, and independence-era modes of spectacle and audience participation into the contemporary period. Finally, this dissertation includes information about evolving Ugandan musical styles and values.

  • Polymetric Layering and Tonal Language in the Piano Etudes of Gyorgy Ligeti

    Author:
    Barbara Podgurski
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Philip Lambert
    Abstract:

    Gyorgy Ligeti's eighteen piano etudes were composed over a period of fifteen years, yet they constitute a coherent body of music literature. In this dissertation I explore recurring compositional elements that are significant unifying factors in these works, particularly the following six properties: referential collections, pulsation patterns and rhythmic cycles (including continuum and polymetric layering), aksak rhythms, intervallic orientation, melodic structures, and canon (in the later etudes), After a brief outline of these components in the etudes as a whole, I focus in greater depth on polymetric layering and continuum in "Entrelacs," and elements of continuum, rhythmic cycles, pitch collections, and structural design in "Der Zauberlehrling." My original analytical techniques include rhythmic reductions of continuum layers, mapping of durational cycles, and pitch-range graphs.

  • Melodic Function and Modal Process in Gregorian Chant

    Author:
    Richard Porterfield
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    William Rothstein
    Abstract:

    This study proposes a theory and method of analysis for voice leading in the melody of Gregorian chant. It draws on historical theories and practices, particularly those of the cantus tradition which 1) pre-dates the imposition on Western ecclesiastical chant of scale theories based in the Ancient Greek science of harmonics, 2) observes and predicts actual melodic behavior, and 3) remains basic to pedagogy through the centuries. Central to cantus-tradition doctrine is the investment of melodic tones with structural functions which articulate modes as melodic archetypes; idiomelic antiphons are analyzed according to five melodic functions derived from formulaic psalmody in a framework modally conditioned by the qualitative and intervallic relationship of final and tenor. Medieval sources put forward this functional dyad as essential to modal cognition--sometimes as the basis of modal construction--through a widespread mnemonic I call the "Re-la, re-fa" Rule; these dyads are also embedded in the ninth-century Noanoeane and eleventh-century Primum quaerite melodic prototypes. Evidence gathered from sources including the Metz tonary, De octo tonis, Musica Enchiriadis, Commemoratio Brevis, and treatises of Aurelian, Hucbald, Guido, Johannes, Amerus, Petrus de Cruce, Marchetto, Coclicus, Wollick, and Ornithoparchus is examined in light of the predicables (genus, species, differentia, proprium, accidens) of Aristotelian dialectic, leading to critical re-evaluation of concepts such as repercussio. The dissertation draws upon the Schenkerian tradition, demonstrating structural levels and prolongation in dyadic contrapuntal progression. Melodic-functional analysis employs modern staff notation to trace directed motion of a structural voice of tenor function from a state of consonance to one of unity with a second structural voice of final function; hexachordal voces (ut, re, mi, fa, sol, la) identify the qualities of structural tones as well as their order in the tenor-function Urlinie which passes through modal degrees toward the final-function Urpunkt; secondary modes projected by local, in-process dyads are noted in lower-case Roman numerals i-viii. Tenor and final remain inseparate in monadic structures logically preceding the dyadic (Claire's "modes of a single element). Other key terms: concinnity, tenorization, finalization, transfer of function, occursus, Hollywood kiss.