Dissertation Index

Author: Lee, Dickie C.

Title: An Agential Exploration of Tragedy and Irony in Post-1945 Orchestral Works

Institution: Florida State University

Begun: April 2015

Completed: March 2017


This analytic dissertation explores tragic and ironic narratives in post-1945 orchestral works through the lens of musical agency and critical theory. For the purposes of this study, I define musical narrative as any sequencing of musical events mediated by agency in which a musical story emerges that underscores the sequence of musical events. My definition and overall methodology for musical narrative follows the work of Lawrence Kramer, Michael Klein, and Byron Almén as I explore tragedy and irony in three large-scale compositions composed after World War II. From Kramer, I break down the narrative process into three components: (1) narrativity, what generates a narrative account; (2) narratography, the discoursing of a narrative; and (3) narrative, the musical story that accompanies the discourse. From Klein (and others), I borrow concepts from intertextuality, critical theory, literary theory, and philosophy to inform these musical stories. Finally, from Almén, I take the tragic narrative archetype as an organizational analytical tool in my analyses. The primary narrativity in each analysis is a form of musical agency, and each analysis questions the role of agency in the interpretation of tragic musical stories in these post-1945 works.

Keywords: Meaning, heremeneutics, narrative, subjectivity, philosophy, agency


Work-Persona: Death as Master Signifier in Penderecki’s Third Symphony
Fictional Composer: Power Relations in Asyla Op. 17
Individuated Element: Belatedness in Rochberg, Symphony No. 2
Analyst: What is an Analyst?



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