Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Diasporic Jeliya in New York: A Study of Mande Griot Repertoire and Performance Practice

    Author:
    David Racanelli
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Peter Manuel
    Abstract:

    Beginning in the late 1980s, many hereditary professional musicians (griots) from Francophone West Africa began moving abroad, first, to France, and then to North America. In my study, I explore the ways in which Mande griots' experiences in the most recent African diaspora in New York have affected their trade, which embraces some of the most significant musical traditions in sub-Saharan Africa. I examine the degree to which their collaboration with non-griot musicians has reshaped the parameters of their repertoire and performance practice in the New York milieu and world music sphere. Although jeliya in the Mande sphere is conceived as a verbal art, it is recast as groove-based "jam music" in clubs and concert halls; even a vocalist's part is judged upon the basis of its musical merits alone, allowing jeliya to flourish as a vocal art as well. Diasporic jeliya inspires listeners in the Western milieu to respond, act, and reflect in spite of their inability to understand the words of the griot, which are lost or neglected in transit. My work entails a detailed view of their music from the vantage point of a close collaborator (as a guitarist) with extensive professional experience working with griots and their Western associates. Collaborators learn the tools of the griot trade through "intensity of contact" with griots and their music. An array of artists determines the form and content of diasporic jeliya in New York, allowing it to grow and flourish in multiple permutations as marketable entertainment.

  • CARL BERGMANN IN NEW YORK: CONDUCTING ACTIVITY 1852-1876

    Author:
    Matthew Reichert
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    John Graziano
    Abstract:

    Carl Bergmann (1821-1876), a cellist and conductor born in Ebersbach, Saxony, emigrated from Vienna to New York in November 1849, a refugee from the political turmoil of 1848. In April 1850 he joined the cello section of the Germania Orchestra, which was then based in Baltimore; in July he was elected conductor of that ensemble. After the dissolution of the Germania in 1854, Bergmann briefly served as the conductor of the Philharmonic Society of Chicago before settling in New York. There he had a profound impact on concert life, establishing himself as the pivotal figure in the integration of the symphonic and operatic works of Liszt, Wagner, Schumann, and Berlioz into the standard repertory. Bergmann's initial claim to fame as a conductor in New York was his own series of orchestral concerts which took place on Sunday evenings at the City Assembly Rooms. The programs in this series, which appealed to a mainly but not exclusively German immigrant audience, included New York premieres of the works of progressive composers of the day, and functioned as a springboard for later performances by local philharmonic societies and opera companies that served a wider public. Scholars that have studied this period have generally overlooked Bergmann's early freelance activity. This may be attributed to the fact that his Sunday concert series was almost exclusively covered by the New York German press, which (up to now) has not been carefully chronicled. In this dissertation I assess Bergmann's contributions to musical life in mid nineteenth-century New York City, his choice of repertory, which is evidence of his forward-looking artistic agenda, and its reception by the public and the New York press.

  • ANALYSIS AND PERFORMANCE SUGGESTIONS FOR WITOLD LUTOS£AWSKI'S GRAVE: METAMORPHOSES FOR CELLO AND PIANO

    Author:
    Marta Reilly
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Music
    Advisor:
    Norman Carey
    Abstract:

    The dissertation gives an analysis and performance suggestions for Witold Lutos³awski's Grave: Metamorphoses for Cello and Piano. The analysis is grounded in set-class theory, while the performance suggestions are based on my own experience as a concert cellist. The introduction describes background, circumstances of the composition, editions, publications, performance, reception history, and summarizes other Lutos³awski compositions for cello. The analysis describes the melody, harmony, rhythm, dynamics, articulation, agogic, texture, and compositional techniques. Sketches of Grave are used for further analysis and comparison. The dissertation also explores connections with other compositions, such as Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande and Lutos³awski's Funeral Music.