Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Thema (Omaggio A Joyce), composed by Luciano Berio resides within a tempo of 80 beats per minute. The discovery of a constant tempo allowed for a precise rhythmic transcription to be created which found musical structures including large formal sections, subsections, phrases, rhythmic and melodic motives, layers, and dialogue. Analysis of the rhythmic phrases shows that electroacoustic music can have a controlled structure and that these structures earned Thema an enduring legacy of masterpiece. The transcription provides a road-map to compare and contrast different elements that reoccur throughout Thema. The work was composed with a well thought-out and planned structure that enabled Berio to create, “constant and controlled transformations.” The transcription also reveals events that are specifically composed and events that Berio composed as whole structures rather than each individual note. Having been inspired by James Joyce’s “experimental use of language and exploration of new literary methods” in Ulysses, Berio extends Joyce’s exploration of subject, counter-subject (fugal counterpoint), development, sibilants and plosives, and white noise.
McCardle, Christopher C., "A Rhythmic Transcription and Spectral Analysis of Luciano Berio's Thema (Omaggio A Joyce)" (2018). LSU Doctoral Dissertations. 4556.