Matching Items (79)
- All Subjects: Music
- 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.
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.
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.
Zwischen in the German language means `between,' and over the past century, as operatic voices have evolved in both range and size, the voice classification of Zwischenfach has become much more relevant - particularly to the female voice. Identifying whether nineteenth century composers recognized the growing opportunities for vocal drama, size, and range in singers and therefore wrote roles for `between' singers; or conversely whether, singers began to challenge and develop their voices to sing the new influx of romantic, verismo and grand repertoire is difficult to determine. Whichever the case, teachers and students should not be surprised about the existence of this nebulous Fach. A clear and concise definition of the word Fach for the purpose of this paper is as follows: a specific voice classification. Zwischenfach is an important topic because young singers are often confused and over-eager to self-label due to the discipline's excessive labeling of Fachs. Rushing to categorize a young voice ultimately leads to misperceptions. To address some of the confusion, this paper briefly explores surveys of the pedagogy and history of the Fach system. To gain insights into the relevance of Zwischenfach in today's marketplace, I developed with my advisors, colleagues and students a set of subjects willing to fill out questionnaires. This paper incorporates current interviews from two casting directors of national and international opera houses, an emerging American mezzo-soprano, a mid-career working European mezzo-soprano, an operatic stage director, an education director for opera houses and a composer. These interviews, along with modern examples of zwischenfach voices are analyzed and discussed.
Students afflicted with music performance anxiety (MPA) can greatly benefit from guidance and mentorship from a music teacher with whom they have established trust, however there exists a knowledge gap between the development and manifestations of MPA, and how it can be overcome in order to prepare the student for success as a performer. It is my purpose with this guide to inform musicians, including students and teachers, about MPA, common coping methods, and outside resources where pedagogues, students, and even professionals can find further guidance. This document is designed to aid music students and teachers in their individual research on the topic. The first section provides necessary background information on MPA and concepts of gender, identity, and personality. A discussion of the results of an experimental protocol that surveyed double reed musicians about their experiences with performance anxiety comprises the second section. An annotated bibliography, listing other resources including self-help books, personal accounts, and scientific studies, is contained in the final section of this guide. Because of the relative absence of research done on the correlation between MPA and specific identity traits including personality, self-image, and gender, it was necessary to incorporate more generalized sources relating to the topic. The annotations offer a more comprehensive approach to understanding and overcoming MPA. This work is not meant to be all-inclusive; rather, its purpose is to act as a basic guide.
The notion that a singer’s voice is an expression of their personality serves as the catalyst for an examination of the relationship between the continuum of introversion and extraversion, and the pathologies of muscle tension dysphonia, vocal nodules, and performance anxiety. This paper begins with a brief introduction defining extraversion and introversion, followed by a review of personality studies identifying opera singers as primarily extraverted. Definitions of vocal nodules and muscle tension dysphonia are then given along with a list of recommended therapies. These elements tie in with two studies in speech pathology that suggest that behaviors of extraversion contribute to the development of vocal nodules, and behaviors of introversion contribute to muscle tension dysphonia and a higher laryngeal placement. Performance anxiety is shown to compound the behaviors that lead to vocal pathologies in singers. Additional therapies are recommended to address anxiety management in vocal lessons. Finally, since personality factors that contribute to vocal pathology are psychological, it is recommended that voice teachers refer their students to a psychotherapist for proper treatment.
A poster advertising two 1966 performances of Duke Ellington’s First Sacred Concert at Trinity Cathedral catalyzed research into several storylines that stem from the jazz great’s time in Phoenix, Arizona. Ellington’s arrival on the weekend of November 10th, 1966, was surrounded by controversy within Trinity Cathedral, the Diocese of Arizona, and the diocesan relationship to the national Episcopal Church. Because Phoenix had recently passed civil rights legislation, race relations remained on unstable footing when Ellington’s sacred jazz music—performed by Ellington’s black band members—filled the nave of the historic cathedral. This concert stimulated research into Duke Ellington’s connection to the Episcopal Church; from Ellington’s influential reading of the Episcopal publication Forward Day by Day (1935 – current) to his lifelong friendships with Episcopal clergy, his connection to the Episcopal Church illuminates a spirituality that was influenced by a denomination in constant transformation. Rather than homing in on a single topic throughout this work, this study brings together the distinct, but interrelated, spheres of church, artist, jazz, and locale in a politically and socially charged moment in recent history. Informed by documents not before examined, this research adds a new spiritual dimension to the existing Ellington biography and contributes to the local history of Phoenix and Trinity Cathedral in the 1960s.
While opera often portrays young heroes and heroines in love, only recently have children taken center stage as principal characters in opera. This paper outlines the evolution of child characters in the standard opera repertoire, beginning with the famous trouser roles of Cherubino from Le nozze di Figaro, Siébel from Faust, Stéphano from Roméo et Juliette, Octavian from Der Rosenkavalier, and Hänsel from Hänsel und Gretel, and ending with principal child roles written for boys (Amahl from Amahl and the Night Visitors and Miles from The Turn of the Screw). Examination of the history of childhood and the casting of children in opera reveals that the two are closely related; as children gained more legislative protection against child abuse and labor, children also appeared more frequently in opera. The evolution of children in opera culminates in the mid-twentieth century, when children perform principal roles in operas like Amahl and the Night Visitors (1951) and The Turn of the Screw (1954).
The study of trouser roles and roles for children in opera also reveals the heteronormativity and misogyny that is deeply engrained in the art form. While trouser roles might have reached popularity because of the vocal aesthetic created earlier by castrati, it is possible that heterosexual composers, librettists and audience members may have wanted to objectify the women playing those roles. Although trouser roles may have also been conceived as a way to create vocal or comedic variety, the strength of these roles has been their openness to multiple interpretations. The primary advancements for children in opera are entwined with this ambiguous history of trouser roles, as this paper will show. These milestones only seem to occur for boys instead of girls; for the most part, if a girl character appears in opera, she is portrayed by an adult woman. This paper will also discuss heteronormativity and misogyny in opera while following the evolution of child roles and child actors in the art form.
Phantom Sun is a ten-minute piece in three sections, and is composed for flute, clarinet in b-flat, violin, cello, and percussion. The three-part structure for this work is a representation of the atmospheric phenomenon after which the composition is named. A phantom sun, also called a parhelion or sundog, is a weather-related phenomenon caused by the horizontal refraction of sunlight in the upper atmosphere. This refraction creates the illusion of three suns above the horizon, and is often accompanied by a bright halo called the circumzenithal arc. The halo is caused by light bending at 22° as it passes through hexagonal ice crystals. Consequently, the numbers six and 22 are important figures, and have been encoded into this piece in various ways.
The first section, marked “With concentrated intensity,” is characterized by the juxtaposition of tonal ambiguity and tonal affirmation, as well as the use of polymetric counterpoint (often 7/8 against 4/4 or 7/8 against 3/4). The middle section, marked “Crystalline,” provides contrast in its use of unmetered sections and independent tempos. The refraction of light is represented in this movement by a 22-note row based on a hexachord (B-flat, F, C, G, A, E) introduced in measure 164 of the first section. The third section, marked “With frenetic energy,” begins without pause on an arresting entrance of the drums playing an additive rhythmic pattern. This pattern (5+7+9+1) amounts to 22 eighth-note pulses and informs much of the motivic and structural considerations for the remainder of the piece.