Dissertation Index

Author: Thomas, Margaret E.

Title: Conlon Nancarrow's 'Temporal dissonance': Rhythmic and Textural Stratification in the Studies for Player Piano

Institution: Yale University

Begun: September 1992

Completed: March 1996


The Studies for Player Piano of Conlon Nancarrow (b. 1912) are rhythmically and texturally complex works that exemplify Nancarrow's aesthetic goal of "temporal dissonance": two or more seemingly uncoordinated streams of music are presented simultaneously. His use of asynchronicity places him as a central figure within a group of innovative twentieth-century composers who similarly expand and elevate rhythmic practice, including Ives, Cowell, Carter, and Ligeti. But Nancarrow's fundamental concept of temporal dissonance remains largely undeveloped. This dissertation explores the rhythmic and textural techniques of the studies in general, and Nancarrow's temporal dissonance in particular.

Keywords: Conlon Nancarrow, rhythmic stratification, texture, player piano, temporal dissonance


I. Introduction; II. Temporal Stratification in the Works of Other Composers; III. Multidimensionality and Textural Strategies; IV. Temporal Dissonance; V. Study No. 41; VI. Concluding Remarks


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