- "Schoenbergian Analysis and Beethoven Scholarship: Composer as Commentator"
Tamika Sterrs, University of Georgia
Arnold Schoenberg would not appear on anyone’s list of Beethoven scholars. Nevertheless, he has an interesting relationship with Beethoven scholarship. The influence of Schoenberg’s theories concerning organicism and coherence are evident in the commentaries and analyses of several Beethoven scholars. Among the greatest examples are Dalhaus, Adorno, Rosen, and more recently, Morgan, in “Coda as Culmination”. Moreover, as a conductor of Beethoven repertoire, Schoenberg formulated his own keen insights into Beethoven as well as his significance to music history. Schoenberg’s commentary and analyses of selected Beethoven works present an unique perspective. One aspect that unites the two composers is the technique of “developing variation”. The significance of this technique for each composer will be examined in reference to one particular work, the Diabelli Variations. This work is not only referenced in Schoenberg’s writings, it served as a compositional model for one of his most famous pupils, Alan Berg. An examination of Schoenberg’s analytical observations concerning the Diabelli Variations, which ultimately shaped his own Variations for Orchestra and Variations on a Recitative, reveals Schoenberg as both a credible commentator on Beethoven as well as an heir to Beethoven’s compositional technique.
Tamika Sterrs is a native of Atlanta, Georgia. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Flute Performance from Spelman College. She received her Master of Music degree in Music Theory from Georgia State University. Ms. Sterrs is currently attending the University of Georgia pursuing her Doctorate in Music Theory. Her research interests involve Schoenbergian studies and Post-tonal analysis.
- "Confronting Method and Material in Musical Historiography"
Andrew Burgard, New York University
Although musicological debates over the past two decades frequently concerned the scholarly uses of historical things, many fundamental questions about the historiographical practice of musicologists remain under-examined in the discipline. Meanwhile, the implicit approach of most music historiography differs little from the position articulated by Carl Dalhaus three decades ago. Even historiography produced by self-proclaimed revisionists and stalwarts of the ‘new musicology’ generally devote little attention to empirical evidence beyond the musical text and the composer's biography. The amount of noteworthy exceptions is certainly increasing, but a broad re-examination of historiographical method in musicology has not yet occurred.
This paper originates from an effort I have made in my own dissertation to develop a method of music historiography that allows me take seriously the historical importance of Janá?ek’s musical work beyond his works. The paper examines how Dalhaus’ conception of relative autonomy has limited the type of questions and materials used in musicological historiography. I propose instead that more musicologists consider how our specialized, technical understanding of musical practices can provide unique perspectives and new resources for wider historiographical enquiry.
Andrew Burgard is an A.B.D. doctoral candidate in historical musicology at New York University, and holds Master’s degrees in musicology from NYU and Royal Holloway, University of London. He has recently returned from the Czech Republic, where he was conducting research for his dissertation (in progress) entitled “The Musical Work of Leoš Janá?ek and the Place of Moravia in the Modern Czech Nation.” His preliminary work on this topic has been presented at conferences in the United States, England, and the Czech Republic.
- "A Reading of Silence: Anarchy and Zen Buddhism in John Cage's Lecture on the Weather"
Yuji Sota, University at Buffalo
John Cage’s Lecture on the Weather (1975) is a piece formed by the twelve speakers’ simultaneous speeches. The texts were chosen from Henry Thoreau’s writings using the chance operations. Therefore, the tangled utterances sound noisy. Nevertheless, a narrator speaks, “Thoreau said: ‘the best communion men have is in silence.’” Why do people who independently speak comprise the best communion? Why is the noisy situation silence?
This study reflects on these issues, drawing on Thoreau’s thought of anarchy and Zen Buddhism, on which Cage’s aesthetic was predicated. Cage emphasized that anarchic citizens should be autonomous individuals who reject any imposed ties, respect others, and are oriented to the well-being of every human being. Zen likewise believes that everyone should be respected as a center and all should cleanse the impurities of the world. Thus both anarchism and Zen hold that people with autonomy and the orientation to social connection form the best communion.
Why is the best communion in silence? Cage defined silence as unintended sounds because space is always filled with vibrations. Unintended sounds/silence generated by chance should not impose themselves on others. These qualities of silence, autonomy and spatial connection, are analogous to the features of the best communion.
Yuji Sota is presently pursuing a PhD in musicology at the University at Buffalo, the State University of New York. He was educated at Shimane University (M.Ed. in musicology and B.Ed. in oboe performance) and Hiroshima University (B.Ed. in philosophy of education) in Japan. He has taught at Shimane University as an adjunct lecturer. His recent article “Babble of Silence” was released at the John Cage Exhibition of the Burchfield Penny Art Center. His present research is concerned with Zen Buddhism’s influence on John Cage’s aesthetic.
- "Semiotics and Story: A Narrative Reading of the First Movement from Prokofiev's Piano Concerto No. 2, op. 16"
Joel Mott, University of Texas at Austin
The body of analysis on Prokofiev’s music largely consists of structuralist viewpoints on his integration of traditional and innovative elements. This paper illustrates a new way of experiencing Prokofiev’s work by applying a narrative and semiotic perspective to his Second Piano Concerto, op.16 (1925) through the theoretical frameworks of Byron Almén’s book A Theory of Musical Narrative: Musical Meaning and Interpretation (2009) and Eero Tarasti’s A Theory of Musical Semiotics (1994).
I argue that this movement exhibits Almén’s Romance narrative archetype: an order-imposing hierarchy (in this case, the tonality of G minor) is victorious over its transgression (chromaticism). I support my argument with Tarasti’s discursive operational categories of spatiality (harmony), actoriality (thematicism) and temporality (form). Separate themes mark the two discursive agents of piano and orchestra. Prokfiev’s use of shortened ritornellos and an elongated cadenza intensify the primary spatial conflict. I also adopt Tarasti’s application of modalization, which refers to the manner in which musical content is expressed. Orchestration, melodic directionality, rhythm, register and dynamic quality imbue each thematic statement and formal section with a degree of tension or lack thereof which contributes to the overall narrative trajectory.
Joel Mott graduated from Austin College in Sherman, TX in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in music theory and composition. He received his master’s in music theory from the University of Texas at Austin in 2008, writing his thesis on memory and expectation in Prokofiev’s piano sonatas. He currently resides in Midland, TX preparing to apply to doctoral programs for the fall of 2011, where he hopes to continue his work on narrative and hermeneutics in late 19th and early 20th century Russian orchestral music.
- "The process of 'becoming' in Roger Redgate's 'Genoi Hoios Essi'"
Stuart Paul Duncan, Cornell University
Roger Redgate’s first published work, Genoi Hoios Essi for solo piano, has fallen under the epithet of “New Complexity,” a polemical term that reduces the wealth of complex relationships to a single obsession with the notational density of the score. However, Redgate’s Genoi is not simply a superficial outcome of some eclectic notational strategy, rather its extreme gestural trajectories reveal a struggle of “things becoming themselves,” the translation of the title. The Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche had originally intended to use this title before electing Ecco Homo in its place.
In Redgate’s Genoi, the opening figure returns multiple times throughout the work, reflecting a process of “becoming,” while palindromic structures ultimately serve to regress linear developments. Such a compositional approach finds an affinity with Alban Berg’s employment of palindromes, adopting a ‘Neitzcherian’ concept of time which “turn[s] back on itself, circle-like … collapsed into an instant by having gone forward only to end where it began” (Robert Morgan, 1991). Therefore, one interpretation of Genoi is that it not only encapsulates the aesthetic of “things becoming themselves,” but also embodies Nietzsche’s own rejection of the title through Redgate’s adoption of a Berg-like palindromic structure.
Stuart Paul Duncan is a doctoral candidate in composition at Cornell University and will be defending his thesis entitled “The concept of New Complexity: Notation, Interpretation and Analysis,” in the coming weeks. Previously, Stuart received a first-class honors Bachelor’s Degree in 2004 from Canterbury Christ Church University as well as the Canterbury Festival Composition Award. In 2006, he received a distinction Master’s Degree in composition from Goldsmiths College, University of London, under the guidance of Roger Redgate.
At Cornell, Stuart has studied composition with Steven Stucky and Kevin Ernste and organ studies with Annette Richards. During his time at Cornell, Stuart’s music has been performed by Cornell’s Festival Chamber Orchestra, Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony. In 2007 his Spiral Density Waves for solo Saxaphone was performed at the North American Saxophone Alliance and in 2008 the Johnson Art Museum commissioned and hosted a non-staged performance of Stuart’s Chamber Opera Abyssinia. Further afield, Stuart's works have been performed across the US, UK and Continental Europe and his 501.567nm for 19-division trumpet, performed by Steve Altoft, will be released on CD later this year.
More recently Stuart has participated in the Society for Music Theory’s Graduate Workshop in Theory Pedagogy and the Michigan Interdisciplinary Music Society’s Workshop on Evaluating Music-Analytical Arguments. He is currently a visiting lecturer at Auburn Maximum Security Prison and is teaching a course entitled Music Appreciation and Elements of Theory. Later this year he will give the paper presented today at the Australian Conference on British Music held at Monach University, Victoria and therefore welcomes any feedback.
- "Classifications and Designations of Metric Modulation in the Music of Elliott Carter"
Jason Hobert, University of Southern Mississippi
From the passing of his 101st birthday and for the past half century, Elliott Carter has been one of the most prolific and significant composer of contemporary music. Known for his complex scores, Carter’s most well-known aspect of composition has been his use of musical time, more specifically, his use of what scholars have assigned upon the term “metric modulation”.
Since the first use of metric modulation in 1948, it has become a staple in Carter’s rhythmic language and compositional process, being found in every composition thereafter. Though Carter has been using metric modulation for over sixty years, Carter scholars, such as Richard Goldman, Jonathan Bernard and David Schiff, differ on their definition to what metric modulation actually is with that of Carter’s. This presentation will compare and contrast all four definitions, discuss different types of metric modulations and their uses, and precisely define metric modulation.
Jason Hobert has earned a BM in classical guitar performance and is currently pursuing an MM in music theory from the University of Southern Mississippi. His research on twentieth-century art music has been presented at the Loyola Music Theory Symposium and New England Conservatory. After graduation in May, Mr. Hobert plans to pursue his PhD in music theory.
- "Transformation in 'Asie' from Maurice Ravel's Sheherazade"
Aaron Grant, Pennsylvania State University
The text for Maurice Ravel's "Asie," the first movement of his Shéhérazade: Three Poems for Voice and Orchestra (1903), depicts a fantastic journey through the Orient. In the song, Ravel gives the orchestra its own story by enhancing its traditional accompanimental role. Ravel's orchestral setting augments the text's narrative by expressing what the expedition means to the narrator--something not evident in the text alone. Current Ravel scholarship explores the composer's fascination with imposture; indeed, Ravel loved exploiting ambiguity and fulfilling expectations in unanticipated ways. Yet, scholars often neglect this piece. Ravel clearly represents his passion in this song because the orchestra provides his own interpretation as a parallel narrative. My analysis of "Asie" demonstrates that, through text painting and motivic evolution, Ravel's composition, not only illustrates the singer's thoughts and emotions, but also conveys the distinct tale of teh character's transformation from adolescence to adulthood. The juxtaposition of soloist and orchestra, with the voice telling one story and the orchestra another, might reflect the isolation and abandonment felt by many early twentieth century composers. By the end of the song, the combination of transformed motivic material with music presented at the beginning of the movement reflects the narrator's maturation.
Aaron Grant is currently a student at The Pennsylvania State University working towards the M.A. in Music Theory, and the B. Mus. in Flute performance through the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate (IUG) program and the Schreyer Honors College. His research interests include hermeneutics, musical semiotics, Stravinsky’s theatrical works, and exoticism. His proposed thesis is entitled, “Duality in Igor Stravinsky’s Artistic Process as Embodied in The Nightingale,” advised by Dr. Maureen Carr. Today’s paper was written under the direction of Dr. Taylor Greer.
- "An Analysis and Interpretation of Musical and Visual Structures in Stan Brakhage's I...dreaming"
Christopher Lynch, University at Buffalo
This paper uses Stan Brakhage’s avant-garde film I… dreaming (1988) as a site for methodological experimentation. The film is a heartrending montage of images of the filmmaker detached from his environs, set to a musical collage by composer Joel Haertling of melancholy fragments from Stephen Foster songs. To analyze the film I created a score by piecing together the notation of the musical fragments, which is then, along with the images, subjected to Schenkerian-influenced hierarchical analysis. Comparison of the different structural levels of the various media reveals that Brakhage often derives his foreground filmic gestures from the music, heightening the emotive capacity of specific texts. On deeper structural levels the filmmaker creates a divorce between the music and the visuals with the exception of a singular moment at which all structures converge, dividing the film into two parts. I conclude by reconciling this bipartite structure with the film’s loose “narrative,” which suggests a transcendence of the protagonist’s isolation. Corroborated by the filmmaker’s working notes for the film, I suggest that, relying on his vocabulary of Lacanian imagery, Brakhage correlates his alienation and longing with a child’s perception of the world, thereby intimating the attainment of peace.
Christopher Lynch is a PhD candidate in Historical Musicology and Theory at the University at Buffalo. His research interests include the aesthetic intersections and divergences of film, opera, and musical theater. Under the guidance of Professor Stephanie Vander Wel, he completed his master’s thesis this year titled “The Veils of Oklahoma!: Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Representations of Gender.”
- "Of Sound and Light Beyond Narratology: The Performance in Contemporary Mainstream Cinema"
Mark Durrand, University at Buffalo
Much has been written about the relationship between hearing and seeing, almost all of which highlights the supposed privilege that seeing enjoys over hearing. Film theorist Christian Metz has argued that a sound in and of itself appears to beg the question “a sound of what?” – a query that is answered only upon seeing the object from which the sound emanates. Metz goes on to note that even within the film industry:
“the language used by technicians and studios…conceptualizes sound in a way that makes sense only for the image. We claim that we are talking about sound, but we are actually thinking of the visual image of the sound's source” (Yale French Studies No. 60 (1980): p. 29).
In this paper, I posit that these apparently widespread assumptions tend to pit sight against hearing, such that the two senses are considered adversaries. I will argue that quite the opposite is true, especially in the practice of engaging with film. Furthermore, I aim to show that different filmic moments require the senses to be “shaped” into different configurations based on the sonic and visual design of a given scene, and that such shaping requires the seeing/hearing audience to possess a degree of what I will call “sensory aptitude.”
Mark Durrand holds an M.M. in music theory from the University of Akron, and studies historical musicology at The University at Buffalo. His is currently researching and writing a dissertation on the performative dimension of film music and sound.
- "Gender, Signification, and the Imaginary in Giacinto Scelsi’s Compositions for Solo Female Voice"
Tyler Cassidy-Heacock, Eastman School of Music
The sensuous fabrics of Giacinto Scelsi’s works for solo female voice are often pegged, in reviews and scholarly descriptions, as “exotic” and “Eastern” or “Indian,” perhaps in response to their characteristic focus on limited pitches and microtonal inflections. Such reactions can reflect gendered conceptions of “otherness,” which here play out in the perceived foreignness of the woman’s supple, multi-textured vocalizing.
Additionally, Scelsi uses no linguistic texts, rather setting sequences of phonemes. Contemporary works that use non-signifying texts have largely been considered deviations from song tradition, and their “failure to signify” is lumped into the amorphous category of “Postmodern.” However, through a closer analysis of Scelsi’s phonemes, I will begin to delineate a more fluid boundary between such texts and those texts which more readily signify in a known symbolic system.
Scelsi’s distinctive sonic landscape is a world predicated on various imaginary parameters: language that doesn’t exist in the listener’s experience, rhythms and patterns that won’t fit musical expectations, and microtonal pitch content that refuses to occupy the acceptable space of the 12-tone system. My project draws the issues of gender, signification, and the imaginary into clearer focus, finding new means of analyzing “Scelsi, the unanalyzable.”
Tyler Cassidy-Heacock is currently a candidate for the PhD in musicology at the Eastman School of Music. Prior to this, she completed a BA in music history and pursued vocal performance at Oberlin College. As a soprano, she has engaged in extensive collaborative work with student composers as well as performing repertoire by John Cage, Oliver Knussen, Harrison Birtwistle, and other established 20th and 21st century composers. Her musicological studies focus on late 20th century and contemporary art music for voice, and include perspectives on gender and sexuality, analysis and performance practice of post-tonal music, words and linguistic meaning, and issues of vocality.
- "The Concert for Ancient Music Series and the Development of an English National Identity"
Jacinta A. Meyers, University at Buffalo
King George III of England had more pertinent things on his mind in 1776 than musical entertainment; the British Empire was already at war in America when the official Declaration of Independence arrived from the colonies. While Americans were up in arms for their own freedom, the English were also developing a national identity. The rise of the middle class and the refinement of the royal and noble social classes, the standardization of gender roles, and industry were all part of this evolution. The sense of national self was not only evident in the tastes and styles of English music, but how music was presented to the English people. Thus the same tumultuous year saw the initiation of the prestigious Concert for Ancient Music Series, which would both exalt past musical achievements of English composers and musicians and herald the nation into the modern age.
There were many reasons to establish such an avenue for music in the capital. A visiting theatergoer in late eighteenth-century London would have believed England far behind continental Europe in terms of musical development. The rising industry was dominated by musicians from well-established Italian, French, and German universities and English colleges, steeped in the old church traditions, were ill-equipped to compete with them. English musicians were constantly crowded out by foreign virtuosos, causing resentment and strengthening a growing xenophobia among them. The royal family and many members of the noble class recognized a need to patronize English musicians and set up a respectable national musical identity. The Ancient Music Series was specifically designed to reflect the values of a genteel audience and to reinforce a place in the music world for the English as a cultivating and consuming culture. This paper sets out to explore these many social and political factors that necessitated the creation of the concert series and how such things as nationalism and gender identity were manifested in its inception.
- "Screaming Women, Singing Men: Images of Prophecy and Femininity in Rolande Lassus' Prophetiae Sibyllarum"
Melody Marchman, University at Buffalo
Roland de Lassus’ motet cycle Prophetiae Sibyllarum consists of twelve obscure Latin poems, each of which prophesizes the coming and the life of a savior who will “lift the darkness.” Because of the religious implications of their prophecies, the ancient Sibyls were, for hundreds of years, “regular figures for contemplation and representation in literature and art.” Although their prophecies are referenced in the Dies Irae of the Catholic liturgy, their words are famously heard in Virgil’s fourth Eclogue, and their images adorn ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Lassus is the only composer to have set these anonymously authored poems.
This paper explores the manner in which the Sibylline tradition informs Lassus' Prophetiae Sibyllarum. I explore Marjorie Roth’s idea that the mixture of diatonicism and chromaticism of the cycle may reflect separate but simultaneous worlds: that of everyday Christian life contrasted with the heightened, freighted world of prophecy. This in conjunction with my interrogation of Lassus’ religiosity favors an alternate categorization of Prophetiae Sibyllarum, suggesting that this cycle be considered among Lassus’ devotional works.
Melody Marchman is a doctoral candidate in Historical Musicology and Theory at the University at Buffalo. Melody is a 2006 graduate of Williams College where she graduated with high honors in Music and Political Philosophy. There she was also awarded the Shirley Stanton Music Prize as well as the C. Harris Prize for Excellence in Political Science. In 2009, under the guidance of Prof. Anne Hallmark, Melody received her master's degree in musicology from the New England Conservatory where she graduated with honors. Her current research interests include the intersection of the sacred and the secular in Spanish polyphony of the 15th and 16th centuries.
- "Prussia's Pathetique: Historical and Political Influences on the First Movement of Beethoven's Op. 13 Piano Sonata"
Edward Knoeckel, University of Southern Florida
I propose a semiotic and formal analysis focusing on elements of opposition as they relate to this work. Opposition, which forms the basis of this movement, provide insight into Beethoven’s relationship with his Prussian patron Lichnowsky, his use of elements from the Style Hongrois, the structural placement of the ‘arrival 6/4’ as a sign of markedness, and opposition between keys.
A unique and new meaning may be found in a work by analyzing it ‘within the constraints of that style’. Through historical study, semiotic interpretation and formal analysis this research seeks to reveal a deeper understanding of compositional signs and tokens used by Beethoven. The historical context considers the patronage by Prince Lichnowsky and common cultural practices at the time of the work’s composition as a frame work for procedures in the field of semiotics. Applying the analytical dichotomy processes of Agawu’s indeterminate/determinate signs, Hatten’s stylistic interpretation/correlation and Pierce’s icon/index can be used to expand our understanding and appreciation of this seminal work of Beethoven.
Edward Knoeckel completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Connecticut in piano performance with Neal Larrabee. While at UConn he was research assistant to Dr. Robert Stephens on drum patterns in the rituals of Santería in Cuba. He continued graduate studies in music composition in NYU and the University of South Florida where he earned his Masters degree in 2006. He returned to USF to continue studies in music theory with Dr. Jill Brasky and has been taking distance courses while adjunct in Music Theory at Central Connecticut State University and Manchester Community College. In the Fall of 2010 he will be entering the DMA program in music composition at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Music.