Music Theory Online

The Online Journal of the Society for Music Theory


Volume 6, Number 4, October, 2000
Copyright � 2000 Society for Music Theory

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New Dissertations


Cuciurean, John D. "A Theory of Pitch, Rhythm, and Intertextual Allusion for the Late Music of Gy�rgy Ligeti." State University of New York at Buffalo, (2000).

AUTHOR: Cuciurean, John D.
TITLE: A Theory of Pitch, Rhythm, and Intertextual Allusion for the Late Music of Gy�rgy Ligeti
INSTITUTION: State University of New York at Buffalo
BEGUN: May 1996
COMPLETED: August 2000

ABSTRACT: In this study I investigate the affiliations between Gy�rgy Ligeti's late music and what I regard as the most important influences that the composer himself acknowledges. My point of departure derives from a conviction that despite the overwhelmingly elaborate textures of Ligeti's recent music, there resides concealed order just beneath the surface complexities. My aim is to develop analytic models that complement existing research relevant to the instrumental works composed since the mid-1970s. Through the analyses of selected excerpts I illustrate how Ligeti uses specific compositional techniques and how these techniques can be modeled abstractly. From these abstract models, I suggest more precise analogues between Ligeti�s music and specific musical or extra-musical influences. I focus especially on the recurring role of chaos theory and the influence of sub-Saharan polyrhythms.

Chapter 1 presents a brief discussion of Ligeti�s life and the specific stylistic features that characterize the late works in relation to those completed prior to the mid-1970s, as well as a brief review of relevant scholarship. Chapter 2 investigates how isorhythmic techniques play a pivotal role in Ligeti�s concept of form, focusing on how isorhythmic techniques shape both surface textures and deeper formal structures. Chapter 3 investigates aspects of rhythmic complexity in those works that exploit tempo fugue techniques, as well as aspects of chaos theory. I develop a generalized model of rhythmic complexity and, then demonstrate how the rhythmic complexity of Ligeti's foreground is generated by a background structure that is significantly less complex. Chapter 4 examines aspects of harmony and voice-leading by investigating the voice-leading connections between Ligeti�s middle period works and his more recent pieces. The analyses show how the tonal triad assumes a primary role in structuring harmony in selected late works. Chapter 5 examines Ligeti�s use in his late works of intertextual quotations and allusions. These are considered in the context of current theoretical models for interpreting intertextuality.

KEYWORDS: Ligeti, rhythmic complexity, parquet deformations, intertextuality, postmodernism, voice-leading, isorhythm, chaos theory


CHAPTER 1: Introduction to the Late Music of Gy�rgy Ligeti
1.1 Introduction
1.2 Biographical Sketch of Gy�rgy Ligeti
1.3 Scholarship on the Late Works
1.4 Scope and Organization of Topic

CHAPTER 2: Isorhythmic Design and Formal Structure
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Parquet Deformations
2.3 Analysis: Trio f�r Violine, Horn und Klavier, III
2.4 Analysis: Konzert f�r Klavier und Orchester, I
2.5 Analysis: �tude pour piano No. 1, "D�sordre"
2.6 Cardinality Theorem
2.7 Conclusion

CHAPTER 3: Rhythmic Complexity in the Tempo Fugues
3.1 Introduction
3.2 Analysis: �tude pour piano No.6, "Automne � Varsovie"
3.3 Connections with Chaos Theory
3.4 Metric Implications in Palindromic Modal Sequences
3.5 Rhythmic Consonance and Dissonance
3.6 Structural Implications in "Automne � Varsovie"
3.7 Analysis: �tude pour piano No. 12, "Entrelacs"
3.8 Conclusion

CHAPTER 4: Aspects of Harmony and Voice-Leading
4.1 Introduction
4.2 Analysis: Hungarian Rock (Chaconne)
4.3 Analysis: �tude pour piano No. 2, "Cordes � vide"
4.4 Analysis: �tude pour piano No. 4, "Fanfares"
4.5 Application of Neo-Riemannian Operators
4.6 Conclusion

CHAPTER 5: Meta-Music: Allusion and Intertextuality
5.1 Introduction
5.2 Allusion and Intertextuality
5.3 Analysis: Selbstportrait
5.4 Analysis: Trio f�r Violine, Horn und Klavier, IV
5.5 Historical Influences in the �tudes pour piano
5.6 Ligeti the Postmodernist?
5.7 Conclusion

APPENDIX A: List of Late Works
APPENDIX B: Selected Discography of Late Works

John D. Cuciurean
Florida International
University School of Music, PAC-141
Miami, FL 33199

Phone: 305-348-6644
Fax: 305-348-4073

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Follet, Diane W. "Echo - A Chamber Opera in One Act: The Woman's Voice in the Twentieth Century." University of Northern Colorado, 2000.

AUTHOR: Follet, Diane W.
TITLE: Echo - A Chamber Opera in One Act: The Woman's Voice in the Twentieth Century
INSTITUTION: University of Northern Colorado
BEGUN: August, 1997
COMPLETED: August, 2000

ABSTRACT: Echo, an original composition, is a one-act opera for soprano, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, two non-speaking actors, and chamber orchestra. The opera is intended for performance by an intermediate or advanced college or university opera theater. An interdisciplinary approach searches for the woman�s voice as it maps a methodology for composing an effective music drama.

The libretto, adapted by the composer and Janice Dickensheets, is from the one-act play of the same name by Joseph T. Shipley. It is the story of the internal struggle of the hero, an unsuccessful playwright in 1920s New York, and the creative manipulations of his partner, the female protagonist. Comic relief is provided by the two "warriors," "I" and "Myself", the emotional and rational sides of the hero�s mind, as they engage in battle.

A synopsis of the story and production notes provide direction for future stagings of the work. An analysis of the music furnishes interpretive guidance. For example, the frequent appearance of the tritone underscores the sinister nature of the many forces at work in the hero�s life, and this unifying factor should be emphasized in performance.

The supporting research is an integrated study. A survey of selected early twentieth-century operas reveals that the lyric stage reflected the times. The diversity of approaches to the female characters in these works is germane to an accurate portrayal of the protagonist in Echo.

In further research, selected one-act operas by other American women composers, contemporaries of this author, represent the woman�s voice at the end of the twentieth century. The musical gestures in these operas provide tools for the composition of Echo.

Successful dramaturgy depends upon specificity of time and place, even if the story is universal. Adding period authenticity to Echo mandates a socio-historical overview of the early twentieth century, the time of the play. This study enables the discovery and discernment of the voice of Echo�s protagonist as a woman of her era.

The supporting research informs the composition of Echo as it listens for the woman�s voice in the twentieth-century.

KEYWORDS: chamber opera, twentieth century, opera composers, opera librettists, opera heroines, women composers

Purpose of the Study
Scope of the Study
Significance of the Study
Organization of the Study

The Literature Search
Review of Selected Early Twentieth-Century Operas
Review of Selected Late Twentieth-Century Operas

Socio-historical Overview
The 1920s
The Woman�s Voice
Analytical Methodologies
Design of the Composition

Biography of Joseph T. Shipley (1893-1988)
Complete Libretto
Production Notes



Dr. Diane Follet
Department of Music
Muhlenberg College
2400 Chew St.
Allentown, PA 18104

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Riley, Matthew J. "Attentive Listening: The Concept of Aufmerksamkeit and its Significance in German Musical Thought, 1770-1790." University of London, 2000.

AUTHOR: Riley, Matthew J
TITLE: Attentive Listening: The Concept of Aufmerksamkeit and its Significance in German Musical Thought, 1770-1790
INSTITUTION: University of London
BEGUN: October 1997
COMPLETED: June 2000

ABSTRACT: Musical writings of late eighteenth-century Germany contain numerous references to the listener's attention. This is especially true of theoretical texts, which explain many technical features of the music of this time as devices for influencing the attention. The topic has not hitherto attracted the interest of scholars, perhaps because the references are somewhat scattered and seldom accompanied by explanation. However, I show that they constitute a coherent discourse which suggests an intriguing notion of 'attentive listening' and has ramifications for our understanding of various late eighteenth-century musical debates.

Part I examines the meaning of the term 'attention' in mid eighteenth-century German thought and presents the music theorists' references. In the aesthetics of Alexander Gottlieb Baumgarten and his followers, attention was conceived as the fundamental faculty of the soul and was frequently linked with the effects of various features of artworks. These writings were informed by the metaphysics of Leibniz, who stressed the need for each human soul to increase its internal activity and reflect God with ever-greater distinctness. The experience of beauty, according to the aestheticians, acts as a spur to the soul's faculties of desire. Thus, although an ae-sthetic discourse such as a piece of music may offer a succession of attractive stimuli to the soul, its task is not to exploit human weakness, but to cultivate an innate impulse to goodness and perfection.

Part II addresses the thought of the two writers who contributed most to the discourse on attention, the aesthetician Johann Georg Sulzer and the theorist, historian and critic Johann Nikolaus Forkel. The focus shifts from technical details of theory to broader issues in late eighteenth-century music aesthetics and criticism, including music's place among the arts, the status of instrumental music and the meaning of music history. Finally, a brief Epilogue surveys more recent thought on music and attention.

KEYWORDS: Attention, listener, Sulzer, Forkel, Enlightenment, aesthetics, rhetoric

Part I
First Principles
1. Attention and the listener: some preliminary perspectives
2. Attention in mid eighteenth-century German aesthetics
3. The means of a musical rhetoric of attention

Part II
Two Profiles
4. From *Tier* to *Mensch*: Sulzer on the civilising power of music
5. From *Liebhaber* to *Kenner*: Forkel's attempts to improve musical hearing

Epilogue: Some later developments regarding music and attention


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Robison, Brian Carl. "Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum: Toward a methodology for analyzing Harrison Birtwistle's music since 1977." Cornell University, 1999.

AUTHOR: Robison, Brian Carl
TITLE: Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum: Toward a methodology for analyzing Harrison Birtwistle's music since 1977
INSTITUTION: Cornell University
BEGUN: November, 1995
COMPLETED: August, 1999

ABSTRACT: Although many critics regard Harrison Birtwistle as the foremost British composer of his generation, his works remain underrepresented in the analytic literature. His music notoriously resists conventional analysis, and when interviewed the composer hasn't expounded at length on his methods. Commentators on his music have thus lacked specific technical means to substantiate their interpretative claims.

The present study explores in detail some of the internal logic of Birtwistle's 1977 composition Carmen arcadiae mechanicae perpetuum (hereafter simply Carmen). Birtwistle's highly idiosyncratic musical style calls for an eclectic mix of analytic techniques, drawn from music theory, mathematics, and ideas conveyed in the composer's scores and published remarks. In Chapter 1, I define central concepts and the analytic means by which I describe them in Birtwistle's music. Chapter 2 introduces carmen in particular, acquainting the reader with the music's general characteristics and sketching some of the analytic issues specific to the piece.

The next four chapters form the core of the present study; each draws on the ideas introduced in Chapter 1 to investigate one of the musical aspects of Carmen mentioned in Chapter 2. Chapter 3 examines Birtwistle's distinctively indistinct melodies. Chapter 4 shows how he generates harmonic variety that produces approximately parallel voice-leading. Chapter 5 shows how he generates motivic variety through approximate repetitions of an ostinato. Chapter 6 analyzes Birtwistle's treatment of musical sequences that repeat along one or more parameters.

The last two chapters place the preceding four in perspective. Chapter 7 summarizes my analytic findings from Chapters 3 through 6, and synthesizes them to clarify their implications for further analysis. Chapter 8 furnishes some cursory analysis of Birtwistle's subsequent music. These later examples demonstrate that many of the techniques I describe are by no means peculiar to Carmen, but persist as prominent aspects of Birtwistle's style.

KEYWORDS: Harrison Birtwistle, contour analysis, pitch set analysis, seriate shuffle, harmonic permutation, motivic permutation, polycycles (generalized isorhythm)

Chapter 1: General introduction
Chapter 2: An overview of Carmen
Chapter 3: Monody in Birtwistle's music
Chapter 4: Birtwistle's technique of harmonic permutation
Chapter 5: From aleatoric mobiles to motivic permutation
Chapter 6: Cycles of pitch, rhythm, and timbre
Chapter 7: Summary and synthesis
Chapter 8: Birtwistle's music after Carmen

Department of Music
237 Lincoln Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4101
(607) 255-4675

217 Auburn Street
Ithaca, NY 14850-3562
(607) 277-8277

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prepared by
Rusty Jones, editorial assistant
Updated 14 November, 2002