Matching Items (323)
- All Subjects: Music
- Creators: Barrett, The Honors College
- Creators: Ryan, Russell
- Creators: Norton, Kay
From Marathon to Athens was inspired by the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger who ran approximately twenty-six miles between the cities of Marathon and Athens in ancient Greece to deliver an important wartime message. According to the legend, he died shortly after completing the journey. The marathon races of today were inspired by his story, though it may be more myth than reality. There is a great deal of inherent drama in the undertaking of such a feat, whether it be a marathon or any other test of strength and endurance. There is the rush of adrenaline when it begins, followed by the excitement and exhilaration of the first few miles. Then, there is a period of settling in and finding a groove - when the runner realizes that there is a long way to go, but is determined to pace him or herself and stay strong. All too often, there is the "wall" that appears about three-quarters of the way through, when it seems that there is no strength left to finish the race. Finally, there is the final push to the finish line - where the runner decides that they are going to make it, in spite of fatigue, pain, or any other obstacle. In this piece, I used a simple melody that was very loosely modeled after a melody from ancient Greece (the tune inscribed on the Epitaph of Seikilos). I used both Phrygian and Dorian modes, which, according to Plato, were most appropriate for soldiers. Throughout the piece, I used different instruments, mostly percussion, to represent the heartbeat of the runner. In the legend, the runner dies - in the piece, the heartbeat becomes very fast and then rather erratic. It then slows and, finally, stops. Though I find the story of Pheidippides inspiring, I wish all marathon runners and athletes of every kind (myself included) a safer and happier outcome!
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.
An analysis of selected piano solo works inspired by Biblical references: William Bergsma and Louis Weingarden
Biblical references play an important role in traditional programmatic music. Composers such as Kuhnau, Haydn, Liszt, Messiaen, and Bolcom produced considerable amounts of piano repertoire with biblical allusions: Musical Presentations of Some Biblical Stories in 6 Sonatas (1700) by Kuhnau, The Seven Last Words from Our Saviour on the Cross (1787) by Haydn, The Way of Cross (1878-1879) by Liszt, Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus (1944) by Messiaen, and The Garden of Eden: Four Rags for Piano (1969) by Bolcom. The twentieth century American composers William Bergsma and Louis Weingarden participated in this tradition by producing piano pieces that contain direct biblical quotations. These works, which have received little attention, include two movements from Tangents (1951) by Bergsma and Triptych: Three Pieces for Piano (1969) by Weingarden.
This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of these piano works, considering structural, rhythmic, harmonic, and melodic elements. In particular, the paper examines Bergsma and Weingarden’s work through the technique of word painting in order to illuminate the relationship between the biblical text and music. Key findings include that Bergsma’s Tangents contains dissonant harmonies and irregular rhythms to reflect the agony of people on the biblical Judgement day, while the use of tonality reflects God’s love in other parts. Similarly, Weingarden uses an illustrative style of word painting in Triptych to closely reflect this biblical narrative and scene through the combination of some twelve-tone techniques with chromaticism. These works present a high degree of pianistic and musical elaboration that incorporates twentieth-century compositional techniques, and this paper argues that they merit more attention for recitals by college-level and professional pianists. This paper begins with an introduction which provides the methodological approach used in the paper and a biography of each composer. It then progresses to an analysis of Bergsma’s Tangents, followed by an analysis of Weingarden’s Triptych.
The collegiate vocal jazz ensemble: an historical and current perspective on the development, current state, and future direction of the genre
The Vocal Jazz ensemble, a uniquely American choral form, has grown and flourished in the past half century largely through the efforts of professionals and educators throughout the collegiate music community. This document provides historical data as presented through live and published interviews with key individuals involved in the early development of collegiate Vocal Jazz, as well as those who continue this effort currently. It also offers a study of the most influential creative forces that provided the spark for everyone else's fire. A frank discussion on the obstacles encountered and overcome is central to the overall theme of this research into a genre that has moved from a marginalized afterthought to a legitimate, more widely accepted art form. In addition to the perspective provided to future generations of educators in this field, this document also discusses the role of collegiate music academia in preserving and promoting the Vocal Jazz ensemble. The discussion relies on recent data showing the benefits of Vocal Jazz training and the need for authenticity towards its universal integration into college and university vocal performance and music education training.
Playing an orchestral reduction is not always the most joyous of times for pianists. As pianists, we have to express a reduced idea of all the instruments and orchestral textures that are in the full score. However, in many cases, there are often omissions, errors or discrepancies in the existing published reductions. These reductions are made by a variety of people: editors, conductors, pianists, but rarely by the composer, and often do not reflect the composer's true intentions. While many reductions are technically playable, including the reduction of the Sibelius Violin Concerto that will form the basis of this paper, the arrangement of the orchestration can be obscured or inaccurate to the point where the violin soloist may not be receiving the best representation of the actual orchestration. A piano reduction should as closely as possible represent the original intention of the composer, both for the sake of the audience and the performers. The pianist should be able to provide the proper support and orchestration of any reduction for the instrumentalist or vocalist so that the same performance style and technique can be used while performing with either a piano reduction or a full orchestra. This research document contains a detailed examination of the various orchestral reductions of the Sibelius Violin Concerto, culminating in a new version by the author. In this discussion, the author will present a basic understanding of how to orchestrate at the piano through an in-depth explanation of piano skill and technique, practice techniques such as listening to a recorded version of the full orchestration while playing the piano, and ways to study and revise an existing piano reduction. The current published reductions of the Sibelius Violin Concerto contain many errors and discrepancies and will be contrasted with the author's own reduction, available for comparison and study in the appendix. This new revised reduction will clearly show the orchestral instruments represented throughout the score, demonstrate new techniques for various orchestral textures, and will yield a playable product that more closely represents the composer's original intentions.
Emily Dickinson's "There came a wind like a bugle--: a singer's analysis of song settings by Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty
Emily Dickinson is a well-known American poet of the nineteenth century, and her oeuvre consists of nearly 2,000 posthumously published poems. Written largely in hymn form with unique ideas of punctuation and grammar, her poetry attracts composers with its inherent musicality. The twentieth-century American composers Aaron Copland, Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty have created song settings of Dickinson's poetry. Copland's song cycle Twelve Poems of Emily Dickinson (1949-50) is admired by many as an illustration of poetry; however, the Dickinson cycles by Bacon, Hoiby, and Getty are also valuable, lesser-known representations of her writing. Settings of one poem, "There came a Wind like a Bugle--", are common among Copland's Twelve Poems, Bacon's cycle Songs from Emily Dickinson: Nature, Time, and Space (1930), Hoiby's Four Dickinson Songs (1988), and Getty's The White Election (1982). These latter three settings have previously undergone some theoretical analysis; however, this paper considers a performance analysis of these songs from a singer's point of view. Chapter 1 provides background for this study. Chapter 2 consists of a biographical overview of Dickinson's life and writing style, as well as a brief literary analysis of "There came a Wind like a Bugle--". Chapters 3, 4, and 5 discuss Ernst Bacon, Lee Hoiby, and Gordon Getty, respectively; each chapter consists of a short biography of the composer and a discussion of his writing style, a brief theoretical analysis of his song setting, and commentary on the merits of his setting from the point of view of a singer. Observations of the depiction of mood in the song and challenges for the singer are also noted. This paper provides a comparative analysis of three solo vocal settings of one Emily Dickinson poem as a guide for singers who wish to begin studying song settings of this poem. The Bacon and Hoiby settings were found to be lyrical, tonal representations of the imagery presented in "There came a Wind like a Bugle--". The Getty setting was found to be a musically starker representation of the poem's atmosphere. These settings are distinctive and worthy of study and performance.
Throughout the history of Western art music, political and religious institutions have exerted powerful influence through their patronage and censorship. This is especially relevant to the organ, an elaborate and expensive instrument which has always depended on institutional support. The fascinating story of Polish organ culture, which has existed since the Middle Ages, reflects the dramatic changes in Polish politics throughout the centuries. An understanding of this country's history helps to construct a comprehensive view of how politics influenced the developments in organ building and organ playing. This paper describes the dynamics of the Church, government and art institutions in Poland during the years 1945-2012. A brief summary of the history of Polish organ culture sets the stage for the changes occurring after WWII. The constant struggle between the Church and the communist regime affected music making and organ culture in Poland from 1945-1989. The political détente that occurred after 1989 led to a flowering of new instruments, restorations and performance opportunities for organists. By exploring the relationship between Polish organ culture and prevailing agendas in the 20th century, the author demonstrates how a centuries-old tradition adapted to survive political and economic hardships.
The organ is in a continued state of evolution, tonally and mechanically, designed by the builder to meet certain expectations related to the musical aesthetics of the time. Organ building in the United States has been influenced by both European organ building traditions and American innovations. During the early twentieth century, Ernest M. Skinner emerged as one of the greatest organ builders in America. Throughout his life, Skinner's quest was to create an "ideal organ," capable of playing a variety of music. Skinner's vision was rooted in the Romantic Movement and influenced by the dynamic gradations and rich, colorful sonorities of orchestral and operatic music of the era. A number of technological developments were applied to the design of the organ which made the romantic organ possible. The prominent European organ builders of the nineteenth century created organs that defined the romantic-style instrument in their respective countries. By the end of the century, American organ builders were creating their own versions. Skinner traveled to Europe to learn what he could from the foreign builders. Skinner built organs that synthesized European and American elements, along with his own innovations, as continuation of nineteenth-century trends that brought the romantic-symphonic organ to its fullest realization. Additionally, Skinner developed many new organ timbres, including a number of stops that imitate various orchestral instruments. The result of Skinner's creative work is the the American symphonic organ. This paper attempts to illustrate how the tonal designs of organs built by Walcker, Cavaillé-Coll, and Willis influenced the work of Skinner and the American symphonic organ. The work of each builder is discussed with descriptions of their designs. The designs and innovations of Skinner are examined as related to these European builders. A number of organ specifications are provided to supplement the information presented here. Today, American symphonic organs, particularly those built by Skinner, are revered for their warmth and charm and are inspiring the work of present day organ builders who are incorporating elements of this style into their own designs.
E assim que eu sonho do velho Brasil: Brazilian immigrants maintaining identity through music in Phoenix, Arizona
The number of Brazilian immigrants in the United States has greatly increased over the past three decades. In Phoenix, Arizona, this population increase reveals itself through a greater number of large Brazilian cultural events and higher demand for live Brazilian music. Music is so embedded in Brazilian culture that it serves as the ideal medium through which immigrants can reconnect to their Brazilian heritage. In this thesis, I contend that Brazilian immigrants in Phoenix, Arizona maintain their identity as Brazilians through various activities extracted from their home culture, the most prominent being musical interaction and participation. My research reveals three primary factors which form a foundation for maintaining cultural identity through music within the Brazilian immigrant community in Phoenix. These include the common experiences of immigration, diasporic identity, and the role of music within this diaspora. Music is one of the stronger art forms for representing emotions and creating an experience of relationship and connections. Music creates a medium with which to confirm identity, and makes the Brazilian immigrant population visible to other Americans and outsiders. While other Brazilian activities can also serve to maintain immigrants' identity, it is clear to me from five years of participant-observation that musical interaction and participation is the most prominent and effective means for Brazilians in Phoenix to maintain their cultural identity while living in the U.S. As a community, music unites the experiences of the Brazilian immigrants and removes them from the periphery of life in a new society.
The purpose of this research paper is to discuss John Carter's Cantata, the musical development of this composition, and provide a brief history of this African American musician and composer. Presently, there exists very little research regarding Carter's life and compositions. From a musician's perspective, this paper discusses the challenges of singing and performing the Cantata for future performers and provides a reference for their preparation. This project also examines John Carter's musical style and analyzes the structure of the Cantata. African-American folk songs were an inspiration to Carter's compositions, especially this particular work. As an African-American, his life and background played a role in his inspiration of composition. With borrowed music, he reveals a basic truth about this period of American history; how the lives of slaves influenced in the development of this particular genre. Additionally, John Carter's style of composition is examined, including the application of jazz and modal scales in his Cantata. Performance practice is examined for both the singer and pianist in a way that best represents the composer's original and unique intent. From vocal safety to breath control, a singer may find several challenges when performing this eclectic piece. This paper provides a guide for singers. A brief overview of the pianist's role in the Cantata is also included. Characteristic words of the African-American vernacular found in Carter's Cantata are briefly discussed and identified (i.e. "them" vs. "dem"). It is essential that any performer, both beginning and advanced, should have a proper understanding of the concepts that Carter had so carefully crafted. This paper endeavors to provide a deeper sense of understanding to what Carter had intended for both the performer and the listener.