Dissertation Index

Author: Wacker, Lori J.

Title: Rhythmic and motivic procedures in selected late works of S.C. Eckhardt-Gramatte

Institution: Indiana University

Begun: April 1996

Completed: May 1999


Sophie-Carmen Eckhardt-Gramatte (1899-1974) was an accomplished composer, pianist, and violinist. Though her compositions have been performed over the course of the twentieth century, and some of the works have been published and recorded, her music as a whole has received limited analytical attention.

The late-period works, written after her immigration to Canada in 1953, use compositional procedures which are of particular analytical interest. Several of the chamber works from this period feature a device the composer called a bar row. Also described by Paul Creston as a metrical sequence, a bar row consists of a fixed series of three or four meter signatures repeated throughout a work. Eckhardt- Gramatte's works which incorporate bar rows were composed between 1955 and 1967. When considered chronologically, a certain compositional development can be traced in the works as she became comfortable with this technique.

In this dissertation I will investigate how bar rows are used in movements from six works. Two works are examples of Eckhardt-Gramatte's experimentation with bar rows in the 1950s, three works show her complete integration and mastery of the procedure in the 1960s, and an additional work from the 1960s combines bar rows with a twelve-tone theme. In the later works, the bar rows provide a framework for a rhythmically active surface. Here concise motivic construction and subsequent development occur, similar to Schoenberg's technique of developing variation. My analysis will demonstrate how the framework of bar rows interacts with motivic development, rhythmic grouping, phrase structure, and formal design.

I have three main goals for the dissertation: one, to introduce an analytical framework for understanding the late works of this talented woman composer; two, to relate the concept of bar rows to recent theories of rhythm, meter, and serial composition; and three, to investigate how the treatment of bar rows functions in relation to other compositional procedures in Eckhardt-Gramatte's late works.

Keywords: rhythm and meter, developing variation, women composers, Canadian composers


I. Introduction, biography of S.C.
Eckhardt-Gramatte, and goals of the study
II. Theoretical and compositional perspectives
on bar rows (literature review)
III. Experimentation with bar rows: Concerto
for Orchestra, Duo Concertante
IV. Consolidation and mastery of bar rows:
Woodwind Quintet, String Quartet No. 3, Woodwind
Trio No. 2
V. Bar rows and a twelve-tone theme: Nonet
VI. Eckhardt-Gramatte's late works in perspective
(summary of bar row functions)


Lori J. Wacker
907 W. 8th St.
Bloomington, IN 47404
phone (812) 334-1271
e-mail: lwacker@indiana.edu

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