AbstractsPhilosophy & Theology

Grafted hymnologies

by Anthony J. Suter

Institution: University of Texas – Austin
Department: Music
Degree: DMA
Year: 2015
Keywords: Chamber orchestra; 20th century formalist; Pre-tonal music; Twentieth century modernist music; Tropes; Single pitch; New music
Record ID: 2060800
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/2152/29678


The work grafted hymnologies, a piece for chamber orchestra, explores connections between twentieth century formalist compositional techniques and formalist techniques of pretonal music. This document, which accompanies the score for the piece, provides an analysis of the work that explains the various techniques and their application to the music. This piece is composed in five large sections. The work pairs compositional techniques associated with pre-tonal music from those of twentieth century modernist music. For example, the second section employs the Medieval idea of tropes – each time the melody is repeated, new melodic material is added, in the style of the elaborations to the Gregorian repertory that were common as early as the tenth century. This is paired with a single pitch class drone that evolves by timbral modulation, a technique influenced in part by Schoenberg and carried out exactingly by Elliot Carter. Each section contains a similar pairings, which are explained in detail herein. That these kinds of pairings could co-exist in a single piece seems natural; certainly, the intricate formalism that appeared in some Western concert music before 1600 exhibits a certain degree of aesthetic concurrence with the formalist music of the early to mid- twentieth century. Artistically, reaching back to the past (both near and far) and creating something new is an interesting exploration of how history can inform the creative process.