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Profound alterations to instruments that take place over short periods of time are fascinating, and the changes undergone by the guitar during the late eighteenth century make for an intriguing transition in the instrument's history. The guitar that existed before 1750 is most commonly referred to as the 'Baroque guitar' and is vastly different from the guitar of today. It was considerably smaller than the guitars that followed, pitched higher, and used primarily for accompaniment through chord strumming. From roughly 1750 to 1800 the guitar underwent a transformation that eventually led to the design and performance practices that have continued through to this day; larger, with lower-pitched courses (and sometimes single stringing), and used increasingly more in punteado (plucked) style. By defining the instrument as it existed prior to 1750, and the changes that it underwent after 1750, we can ensure that the instrument discussed is the one that has directly led to the instrument we use today. Because instrument design and performance practice inevitably influence each other, a thorough examination of ornamentation practices from 1750-1800 can lead to a greater understanding of the instrument as it changed, and the instrument it eventually turned into. Since the early nineteenth century was one of the more productive time periods for the guitar, having a better understanding of the ornamentation performance practices that preceded it may provide insight to how the players and composers of this fertile time (Sor, Aguado, Giuliani, etc.) approached their instrument. Although there was not much music printed or copied for guitar during the latter half of the eighteenth century, a substantial number of guitars were built, along with instruction manuals featuring the guitar. Instruction manuals were examined, along with works for solo guitar and guitar in ensemble with other instruments, to explore ornamentation practices from 1750-1800. Through examination of the guitar instruction manuals of the late eighteenth century, an increased understanding is gained regarding the techniques that eventually became cornerstones of nineteenth-century guitar performance practice.
The focus of this in-depth study is to look at the gestation, performance history, and reception of Giacomo Puccini's evening of three one-act operas called Il Trittico and differentiate the particular components, Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, and Gianni Schicchi to analyze them for their individual stylistic elements of Italian Opera. These were the styles of verismo, pathos and sentimentality, and opera buffa. As substantiated by written criticism, the audience and the critics did not fully comprehend the hidden meaning behind the individual works of Il Trittico. Puccini, enigmatically, had chosen to present one last glimpse of outmoded Italian operatic traditions. In order to evaluate Il Trittico's importance in the history of Italian opera, this study will first review the musically changing landscape in Italy during the early to mid-nineteenth century, then the second part of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth-century when German, French, and eventually Russian music were starting to influence audience taste. Puccini who, over the course of his compositional life, absorbed and incorporated these different styles realized that long held Italian operatic tradition had reached a fork in the road. One path would ensure Italian composers a place in this new order and the other a stagnant dead end.
Even though Puccini's triptych garnered primarily negative reviews, the basis for this negativity was the perception that Il Trittico had broken with the historically traditional Italian musical styles. Though the present study acknowledges that break to a degree, it will also present a historically based rationale for the deviation, one left largely unnoticed by Puccini's critics. In the end, this author plans to realize their symbolic importance as a farewell to three uniquely Italian styles and a departure point for a new operatic tradition. Looking forward to the centenary of the work, this author seeks to illuminate how Puccini reached the pinnacle of firmly rooted genres of Italian opera. Ultimately this might help to unravel the enigma of Il Trittico while it continues to secure its rightful place as one of the masterpieces of the Puccini canon.
Composers and performers alike are pushing the limits of expression with an ever-expanding sonic palette. There has also been a great expansion of saxophone repertoire over the past few decades. This has lead to an increasing number of advanced pieces incorporating saxophone extended techniques. As younger saxophonists discover these compositions, they too become inspired to implement these techniques in their own playing. There is a need for broader selections of introductory to intermediate compositions with saxophone extended techniques. It is the goal of this project to expand this repertoire for pre-college and early-college saxophonists. These target-level saxophonists are those who have already begun their studies in extended techniques. Three commissioned composers have contributed pieces for this target level of saxophonist with the purpose of bridging the gap between first attempts of extended techniques and the advanced pieces that already exist. Saxophonists who have the standard techniques to perform compositions such as Sonata for E-flat Alto Saxophone and Piano by Paul Creston will be suited to approach these compositions. In addition to the compositions, the author has composed short warm up exercises, utilizing selected extended techniques. A professional recording of the resulting compositions and exercises are also included. The enclosed document will provide a performer's analysis to help instructors of potential performers navigate the extended techniques and provide insight on other challenging aspects of the compositions. It is not the intention of the following document to teach the individual techniques.
In the early-twentieth-century United States, Jewish and European immigrant scholars, musicians, and composers dominated the academic, orchestral, film and popular music scenes. While some of these musicians immigrated voluntarily, others, having fled the genocide of the Holocaust, were forced into exile due to religious and political persecution. Musicians were often targeted by the Nazi regime for performing and advancing banned music, composing modernist works, or for their religious or political beliefs. The United States upheld strict, pre-World War Two immigration quotas and laws that limited relocation. Specialized rescue agencies arose to help these exiles settle in the United States.
Meanwhile in 1924, American composer Mark Brunswick (1902-1971) moved to Europe and later studied with Nadia Boulanger. He found his niche among members of the Second Viennese School. Brunswick returned to the United States in 1938 and founded the National Committee for Refugee Musicians (NCRM), originally called the Placement Committee for German and Austrian Musicians, to aid in the relocation and job placement of at-risk musicians and their families during World War Two.
This thesis briefly explores Brunswick’s life, and then more closely addresses the formation of the NCRM, its members, those who received aid, and partnering organizations. Finally, cases in point illustrate the varied ways in which the NCRM helped musicians in exile. Brunswick and the Committee played a major role in American musical history, yet no major studies have focused on them. With the NCRM’s assistance, many refugees thrived in and contributed to America’s musical landscape. By exploring letters, memoranda, and other unpublished archival documents, I will show how Brunswick and the NCRM affected U.S. musical life beginning in the 1930s. The positive effects of this germinal group endure today.
Formed in 1999, BCM International, comprised of composers Eric Whitacre, Jonathan Newman, Steven Bryant, and James (Jim) Bonney dedicated itself to publishing repertoire in the wind band medium. This project focuses on the work of these four composers, who, at the beginning of the “digital age,” joined together to create a new entrepreneurial and self-published entity. This paper aims to discuss their contribution to the wind band medium, thereby adding to the genre’s body of research.
Similarly to previous investigations of this sort, the author will: 1) offer a biographical sketch through the lens of each individual composer; 2) discuss the establishment of BCM International; 3) track the individual output for wind band of each of the four composers through performance data found in the College Band Directors National Association’s Report; and 4) discuss the composer reported influence of John Corigliano, their teacher, on their compositional process.
Technological advancements in computers and audio software and hardware devices in the twenty-first century have led to the expansion of possibilities for music composition, including works for acoustic instruments and live electronics. Electroacoustic composition is rapidly and continually evolving, and much that has been written about compositional techniques for percussion and live electronics is becoming outdated. Live electronics include performer-triggered events, audio processing, electronic responses to various inputs, and electronic decision-making during live performances. These techniques can be employed in a variety of ways. This project sheds light on how modern composers of different musical and cultural backgrounds reimagine the use of percussion through the lens of new technologies.
Through the commission, examination, and recording of three new works for solo percussion and live electronics, the author seeks to further explore and highlight electroacoustic compositional techniques for solo percussion. A specific compositional element to be included in these commissioned works is the activation or manipulation of the acoustic properties of percussion instruments by electronic components. The three artists who contributed works are percussionist-composer Jeremy Muller, composer and multimedia artist Jordan Munson, and composer, sound artist, and performer Garth Paine. The creativity demonstrated in their previous works made them desirable candidates for this project. Each of them approached their composition in different ways. In Hysteresis, Muller utilizes a loudspeaker underneath a vibraphone to expand the sound palette of the instrument with microtonal electronic sounds that match the instrument’s timbre. In Where Light Escapes You, Jordan Munson layers various electronic sounds with the vibraphone to create a slowly evolving texture that also incorporates a bass drum and the buzzing of snare drums. In Resonant Textures, Paine spatializes vibraphone, cymbal, and electronic sounds to create a meditative and immersive listening experience. Ultimately, each of the three composers implemented distinctive compositional and performance tools to create new works that provide a glimpse into the future of percussion music.
Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, musicologists have been delving into formerly inaccessible archives and publishing new research on Eastern Bloc composers. Much of the English-language scholarship, however, has focused on already well-known composers from Russia or Poland. In contrast, composers from smaller countries such as the Czech Republic (formerly Czechoslovakia) have been neglected. In this thesis, I shed light on the new music scene in Czechoslovakia from 1948–1989, specifically during the period of “Normalization” (1969–1989).
The period of Normalization followed a cultural thaw, and beginning in 1969 the Czechoslovak government attempted to restore control. Many Czech and Slovak citizens kept their opinions private to avoid punishment, but some voiced their opinions and faced repression, while others chose to leave the country. In this thesis, I explore how two Czech composers, Marek Kopelent (b. 1932) and Petr Kotík (b. 1942) came to terms with writing music before and during the period of Normalization.
The percussion jazz ensemble is a long-established yet rare component of 21st century percussion studios in the United States. While many American collegiate programs have percussion ensembles that perform jazz-based pieces, none are identified as a “percussion jazz ensemble.” This may be for a variety of reasons. Professors may not have considered adding a percussion jazz ensemble to their program because of its scarcity in American universities. Including such a class would be challenging if the instructors did not feel comfortable or familiar enough with jazz idioms and vernacular. Additionally, very few compositions or arrangements are available for this group. While there are several method books on jazz vibraphone, there are no pedagogical resources designed specifically for the percussion jazz ensemble. The purpose of this document is to provide historical context, curricula, resource materials, and arrangements necessary for establishing a percussion jazz ensemble at the collegiate level. The end result will be to demonstrate the importance of an ensemble such as this for aspiring percussionists and motivate institutions focused on Western classical music to incorporate jazz elements into their percussion program. Research conducted for this project was limited to academic universities, pedagogical approaches, and ensembles found only in the United States and will not include a survey of those outside this country.
Torse III (1965) by Akira Miyoshi, Two Movements for Marimba (1965) by
Toshimistu Tanaka, and Time for Marimba (1968) by Minoru Miki have remained “tour de force” pieces in the marimba repertoire since their inception nearly fifty years ago, yet they continue to present significant performance and interpretative issues to each new generation of marimbists. This document will serve as both a performance guide for advanced marimba performers, as well as provide insight into the aesthetic qualities that contribute to their lasting artistic significance.
Each piece will receive a designated chapter discussing the historical context, technical challenges, and general performance practices. The author will also present a designated chapter discussing the three over-arching aesthetic characteristics found in all three pieces: the use of the entire range of the instrument, the use of extreme contrasting dynamics and timbre, and the use of a common harmonic language.
Torse III, Two Movements, and Time were famously performed by Keiko Abe on her first classical marimba recital in 1968. This document will also help bring to light the enormous impact this recital had on the history of the marimba, as marimbists throughout the world today are forever indebted to Abe’s efforts.
Sofia Gubaidulina’s Dancer on a Tightrope (Der Seiltänzer, 1993) for violin and piano is an excellent example of the sonic capabilities of both instruments. To convey the balance and uncertainty of a circus act, Gubaidulina makes ample use of rhythmic variation, flexible melodic gestures, compound meters, dissonance, and indeterminacy in notation of musical time. Due to the intricate nature of both parts, this can be a difficult work to perform accurately. This paper is an accompanying document to the score to explain notations, suggest performance techniques for both instruments, and provide a thorough analysis of the complete work.
Students of Gubaidulina’s music can find numerous studies detailing her biography as a Soviet and post-Soviet composer. There are many dissertations on her string works, including the string quartets and string trio. However, there is no performer’s guide or existing study that would provide insight to Dancer. Most of the existing literature on Gubaidulina is not based on sketches but relies on analysis of published sources.
In researching this document, I drew upon the manuscript collection for Dancer on a Tightrope housed at the Paul Sacher archives in Basel, Switzerland. I compare sketches with the published score and analyze the work’s structure, melodic aspects, harmony, timbre, and practical applications of the extended notation. I will also compare Dancer on
a Tightrope to Gubaidulina’s works from the same period, violin writing, and other chamber music. Many of the rhythmic and pitch ambiguities in the published score will be clarified by a sketch study of the piece. For assistance with piano notation and performance, I suggest techniques for the most careful way to play inside the instrument to avoid damage.
I contextualize Gubaidulina within a Soviet and international context. It is essential to view her work within a broader twentieth-century framework, her life as a composer in the USSR, and in light of broader socio-political trends. Gubaidulina is one of the foremost Soviet composers who has earned international recognition. This performer’s guide will advance and encourage performances of Dancer on a Tightrope and help disseminate knowledge about this work.