Third Annual Conference

Wilkes University
Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania

April 1-2, 2005

Downloadas .pdf file.


Dorothy Payne Award for the Best Student Paper

Michael Baker (Indiana University)
"Transformation vs. Prolongation in Brahms’s In derFremde"

The sharp contrast between transformational theories oftonal music and prolongational theories can be illustrated by consideringthe very different generative principles at play in these two theories.Specifically, neo-Riemannian transformational theories tend to focus onsuccessive chord connections without relation to a structural "tonic" chord.In contrast, prolongational approaches to music, such as Schenkerian theory,are governed by the relationship of foreground and middleground elementswith a tonic chord in the background. However, if the typical proceduresand techniques associated with neo-Riemannian transformational theory wereapplied to a single chord, would this constitute tonic prolongation?

The purpose of this paper is to examine Johannes Brahms’ssetting of In der Fremde, op. 3 no. 5. Specifically, I hope to showhow aspects of both transformational theory and prolongational theory canbe synthesized to reflect a significant compositional idea in this song.After a brief discussion of important aspects of each theoretical approach,I will suggest ways that these theories might be synthesized to help explaina specific musical situation, which I refer to as "common-tone prolongation."Following this discussion, I will present an analysis of In der Fremdethat draws upon aspects of both transformational and prolongational theories.Finally, I will show that this musical interpretation resonates with significantaspects of the poetic text for this song.

Form and Gesture in Music After 1945

Stephen F. Lilly (Towson University)
"Agostino Di Scipio’s and Giuliano Mesa’s Tiresia:The Structure of Collaboration"

"Words and sound: neither pre-existed the other, as theywere created along one year and a half of meetings, email exchanges, andarguments between the authors." Composer Agostino Di Scipio’s account illustratesthe collaborative effort by which he and poet Giuliano Mesa translatedthe Tiresias myth into music. Inspired by the dualities of Tiresias (ablind seer, a man who spent seven years as a woman, etc.), the structureof Tiresia, a work for one or two readers and electroacoustic sounds,emphasizes oppositions. To this end, Mesa and Di Scipio carefully preservethe autonomy of the poems and the composed sounds, and each articulateindependent dichotomies. Nevertheless, poetry and music interact accordingto a complex interrelationship which unifies the work. This paper willfirst discuss the oppositional structures through an analysis of lineationand meter in Mesa’s poetry, as well as the declamation of his reading,and an analysis of the contrasts in timbre, pitch, and rhythmic organizationin the electroacoustic sounds. This will then be followed by two comparisons:one between the use of pitch and register in Mesa’s reading and the timbreand pitch content of the electroacoustic sounds, and another between theformal transformations in poetic form and the evolution of musical structurethat occurs over the course of the work.

Amy Carr-Richardson (East Carolina University)
"A Study of Variation Technique and Form in Donald Grantham’sFantasy Variations"

Donald Grantham’s Fantasy Variations (1998) for wind ensembleis based on George Gershwin’s Prelude II for Piano (1936). This paper presentsan analysis of excerpts from Fantasy Variations that are appropriate foruse in an undergraduate music theory class. The piece provides an effectiveexample of the creative use of motivic development and is particularlyinteresting in its placement of the complete thematic statements near theend of the work, preceded by development of the prelude’s motives. TheFantasy Variations do not follow traditional linear organizations, butinstead play upon the various musical characters inherent in many gesturesof the prelude—even small, accompanimental details—and present them witha collage-type technique. Analysis of this prelude and set of variationsoffers students a rich view of the concepts of embellishment and variationform by revealing concealed motivic relationships and the organic, althoughnot necessarily linear, relation between the source and its variations.

Benjamin R. Levy (University of Maryland)
"Ligeti’s Compositions in Timbre: 
Connections Between His Electronic and Orchestral Music"

The electronic works of György Ligeti have sufferedneglect compared to his other works; while analytic literature on orchestralworks such as Lontano and Atmosphères continues togrow, difficulties inherent in the analysis of electronic music have hinderedthe thorough investigation of his tape pieces. While many of Ligeti's analystsand biographers (including Steinitz and Toop) acknowledge that his earlyexperiences with electronic music influenced his later compositional development,his two completed works in this medium, Glissandi (1957) and Artikulation(1958) have received little serious attention. This paper illuminates connectionsbetween the sound world of these early tape pieces and that of the orchestralpieces such as Apparitions (1958-59). 

By analyzing passages from Artikulation and Apparitionsand focusing on the sonic details rather than extra-musical associations,I will show similarities in the way these pieces fashion musical gestures,which in turn make the building blocks of larger forms. To do this I drawon a growing body of theoretic literature focusing on the interrelateddimensions involved in timbre as well as the composer's own comments aboutmany of these works. A greater understanding of the areas of confluencebetween these two bodies of music will in turn further the understandingof the development of Ligeti's mature style, one of the most original voicesof the twentieth century.

Debussy, Ravel, and Messiaen

Robert T. Kelley (Florida State University)
"Evaluating Prolongation in Extended Tonality"

In my talk I shall offer strategies for deciding whatis structural in extended-tonal music and provide new theoretical qualificationsthat allow for a conservative evaluation of prolongational analyses. Straus(1987) provides several criteria for finding post-tonal prolongation, butthese can simply be reduced down to one important consideration: non-tertianmusic clouds the distinction between harmonic and melodic intervals. Becauselinear analysis depends upon this distinction, any expansion of the prolongationalapproach for non-tertian music must find alternative means for definingthe ways in which transient tones elaborate upon structural chord tonesto foster a sense of prolongation. While a true prolongational perspectivecannot be extended to address most post-tonal music, it may be possibleto salvage a prolongational approach in a restricted body of post-tonalmusic that retains some features of tonality, such as harmonic function,parsimonious voice leading, or an underlying diatonic collection. Takinginto consideration Straus's theoretical proviso, we can build a model forprolongational analysis of non-tertian music by establishing how non-tertianchords may attain the status of structural harmonies. Considerations inthe evaluation of chordal salience include tonal function, acoustical stability,motivic significance, and participation in a reference collection. Providedan alternative means for deciding what chords are structural in non-tertianmusic, contrapuntal lines passing between any two structural chords canstill aid in hearing a passage as a prolongation. These criteria for establishingprolongational spans will be applied to analysis of "Ondine" from Ravel'sGaspard de la Nuit.

Martin Lee (University of Buffalo)
"Messiaen’s Birdsong Music: Birdsong Analysis and ItsMusical Setting"

Beginning in the early 1960’s, studies of Messiaen’s birdsongshave adopted different perspectives and analytical approaches. The interpretationof Messiaen’s writings on birdsong through his extended compositional career,however, has been sadly neglected. Although analyses of Messiaen’s writingson birdsong have appeared in dissertations and journals more recently,they tend to focus only on performance directions rather than on analyzingthe music from a perspective consistent with Messiaen’s views. As presentedin this paper, Messiaen’s use of birdsongs is divided into two phases accordingto how he named them and to the number of birdsongs used in the music:from Quatuor pour la fin de temps (1940-41) to Livre d’orgue(1951); and from Réveil des oiseaux (1953) to Éclairssur l’Au-Delà… (1987-91) and the posthumous work Concertà quatre (1990-92). The analyses of selected birdsong excerptsin representative works show both how Messiaen developed the techniquefor writing birdsongs and how he used his special color chords and leshors tempo to present specific birdsongs in the music. Relying on his Techniquede mon langage musical and Traité de rythme, de couleur,et d’ornithologie, I develop an analytical approach that explores howMessiaen incorporates birdsong as a musical and artistic space.

Michael L. Klein (Temple University)
"Temporality and Apotheosis in Debussy’s Music"

This paper considers the effects that temporality andapotheosis have on the musical narratives of three works by Debussy: "L’islejoyeuse" (1904), "Reflets dans l’eau" (1905), and the "Prologue" from theCello Sonata (1915). The paper begins with brief discussions of temporalityand apotheosis before turning to their distinct functions in Debussy’smusic. In 18th- and 19th-century music, temporality is bichronic: duringthematic sections we have a sense of an eternal present, while during transitionalsections we have a sense of temporal motion. This bichronic temporalityinteracts with the teleological narratives of 19th-century music, wherebyprogressive sections lead to exalted moments set in an extended present.Particularly in tragic-to-transcendent narratives, the progressive temporalityof a development section culminates in an apotheosis that affirms a senseof heroic achievement. In Debussy’s music, however, we find that reversalsof syntax, pedal tones, modes, and non-diatonic collections in order tokeep temporal motion at bay. Because transitional passages show littleof the progressive time common to other 19th-century music, apotheosisin Debussy signifies less a heroic achievement and more an ecstatic reaffirmationof an eternal state. Such a monochronic trajectory is common to pastoralnarratives that hope to circumvent catastrophe by creating an ideal andtimeless arcadia. The paper describes how "L’isle joyeuse" adheres moreclosely to the 19th-century narrative paradigm, while "Reflets dans l’eau"and the "Prologue" undercut that paradigm.

Stravinsky and Webern

Paul M. Lombardi (University of New Mexico)
"Symmetrical Properties of Rotational Arrays in Stravinsky’sLate Music"

This presentation examines symmetry based on the occurrencesof pitch classes in hexachordal rotational arrays. The symmetry directlycorresponds to the interval vector of the generating hexachord. Rotationalarrays are examined using algebraic equations and a representation of concentriccircles. Stravinsky projects this symmetry in the following two excerpts: Requiem Canticles, Exaudi mm. 76-80 and A Sermon, A Narrative,and A Prayer, mm. 75-85. In these excerpts, the symmetry is emphasizedby duration or orchestration.

Lawrence B. Shuster (CUNY-Graduate Center)
"Transformational Harmony and Voice-Leading in the CanonicWriting of Stravinsky and Webern"

The development of compositional systems capable of achievinga functional integration between the vertical and linear dimensions ofmusical structure in the absence of a unifying tonal center was perhapsthe most significant compositional challenge encountered by the early serialists.A diverse array of compositional strategies emerged as the result of thequest for a ‘unified space.’ Stravinsky and Webern each developed uniqueand novel systems for generating harmonic structures and establishing reciprocalcorrespondences between them. These various systems of harmonic generationhave been recognized by contemporary theory for some time now. Yet comparativelylittle research has been conducted that examines the explicit behaviorof vertical and linear sets on the musical surface and how these sets interactto generate unified spaces.

This paper explores harmony and voice-leading in the canonicwriting of Stravinsky and Webern. It adapts recent transformational theoriesincluding Klumpenhouwer Networks (K-nets) to illustrate some ways in whichthese composers were able to produce a functional integration between thevertical and linear dimensions of musical structure. K-nets are employedto generate network models of linear/vertical structure that characterizeisographic relations expressed between sets on the musical surface andbetween graphs at higher levels of recursion. A set of categories is establishedto define the various forms of ‘diagonal’ correspondence expressed betweenthe linear and vertical networks. Analytical examples will be drawn fromStravinsky’s Canticum Sacrum and Double Canon; and Webern’s StringQuartet, op. 28/2, Symphonie, op. 21/2, and Quartet, op. 22/1.

Carolyn Mullin (University of Oregon)  
"'How one thing leads to another;': 
The Notion of Process as Unity in Webern’s Atonal Music"

In a 1932 lecture, Anton Webern said, "Unity is surelythe indispensable thing if meaning is to exist. Unity…is the establishmentof the utmost relatedness between all component parts. So in music, asin all other human utterance, the aim is to make as clear as possible therelationships between the parts of the unity; in short, to show how onething leads to another." If we are to have a greater understanding of unity,we must necessarily examine the relationships within and between movementsof a work and the process or processes that contribute to coherence ofthe whole. My paper takes Webern’s notion of process as a starting pointto examine the processes and relationships that contribute to coherencein Webern’s Three Short Pieces, op. 11. There is an overarching processthat I call ‘focusing’ that can be demonstrated through a network of subsetsand supersets around 6-Z19 (013478) and 6-Z44 (012569). This network issuggested in the first movement, realized in the second movement, and thenis condensed to its bare essentials in the third movement. The analytictools employed here all serve to demonstrate intricate networks of relationships,which in turn form processes that operate to provide global coherence ineach movement as well as large-scale coherence over the entire work. Fewscholars have attempted to trace such processes within movements and acrossentire works of Webern’s atonal music. By examining the processes thatcontribute to global coherence in Three Short Pieces op. 11, we cannotonly provide a thorough picture of how Webern creates unifying structuresacross an entire work but better understand Webern’s own notions aboutunity as process.

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