Dissertation Index



Author: Bradford, Wesley J

Title: Developing a Mathematically Informed Approach to Musical Narrative through the Analysis of Three Twentieth-Century Monophonic Woodwind Works

Institution: Louisiana State University

Begun: October 2015

Completed: June 2016

Abstract:

This project applies mathematically informed narrative to monophonic music in the twentieth century, with a focus on three works for solo woodwinds: Debussy’s Syrinx (flute), Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet, and Britten’s “Bacchus” from Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op. 49 (oboe). This music poses difficulties for traditional analytical methods due to a lack of explicit harmonies and unusual pitch language that is neither functionally tonal nor serially atonal. Additionally, these pieces present a variety of challenges due to differences in length, number of movements, and presence or absence of programmatic elements. Therefore, nontraditional methods could be beneficial for understanding these idiosyncratic pieces. Mathematical and transformational approaches have shown that such descriptions can elegantly illustrate pitch language in a wide variety of tonal and atonal styles. Visual transformational and geometric approaches, such as oriented networks and graphic representations, can assist in illustrating important changes that take place during a piece.

Narrative theory approaches analysis from another viewpoint. While not all music can be considered narrative, a narrative paradigm is applicable to a wide range of musical styles. Because narrative theories focus on large-scale topical and gestural changes for building interpretations, it complements the locally focused nature of transformational theory. Together, a mathematically informed narrative method can reveal connections that are not immediately obvious in these works, and help a listener or performer create an informed interpretation

Keywords: narrative theory, transformational theory, woodwind, analysis, 20th century, geometry, monophonic

TOC:

TABLE OF CONTENTS

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii

ABSTRACT x

CHAPTER 1. METHODOLOGY AND LITERATURE REVIEW 1
I. INTRODUCTION 1
II. THEORETICAL CONCEPTS 3
III. SYNTHESIZING NARRATIVE AND TRANSFORMATIONAL
THEORY 21
IV. CONCLUSION 27

CHAPTER 2. DEBUSSY’S SYRINX 28
I. INTRODUCTION 28
II. ANALYSIS 33
III. CONCLUSION 42

CHAPTER 3. STRAVINSKY’S THREE PIECES FOR CLARINET SOLO 44
I. INTRODUCTION 44
II. ANALYSIS 47
III. CONCLUSION 67

CHAPTER 4. BRITTEN’S “BACCHUS” FROM SIX METAMORPHOSES AFTER
OVID 68
I. INTRODUCTION 68
II. ANALYSIS 73
III. CONCLUSION 93

CHAPTER 5. CONCLUDING REMARKS 95
I. DISCUSSION 95
II. NEW DIRECTIONS 98

BIBLIOGRAPHY 102

VITA 108


Contact:

Wesley Bradford
931-264-1007
wbradf8@lsu.edu

Date Listed: 06/20/2016


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