Dissertation Index

Author: Lima, Paulo C.

Title: Surface and Structure in the Music of Ernst Widmer: Octatonic Compositional Strategies

Institution: Universidade de São Paulo (USP - Brasil)

Begun: January 1996

Completed: October 2000


This thesis presents research focused on the analysis of octatonic oriented compositions by Ernst Widmer (1927-1990) through analytical procedures derived from the areas of post-tonal and Grundgestalt theories, aiming at the identification of decision making systems involved in the motivic-melodic constructions and other dimensions related to them such as harmonic and spatial planning, texture and form, leading to an understanding of the relationships established between surface and structural levels.

The investigation took as its departing point the Sonata op. 122, Monte Pascoal, for piano solo, and the analytical problems generated by its inspection, which in turn were projected, along with possible answers, to a number of compositions written in the last decade of Widmer’s compositional activity. The set of procedures developed in this phase represent an organic outgrowth of former perspectives, which can be traced back to the fifties and the favored trichords (014) and (025).

The elements of Widmer’s compositional theory recovered through these analyses may represent an important step towards the development of an specific compositional identity, resulting from the interaction of his Swiss background with more than thirty years of immersion in brazilian culture, alongside with the continuos interest in compositional premises such as organicism and relativity.

Keywords: composition,octatonic,cultural identity,Grundgestalt,surface,organicism,aggregate


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