Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

The School of Music

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

This work is conceived as a unit that has two parts. Part one is an original composition, Symphony No. 2. This piece is scored for symphony orchestra and it is a sequel of the composer’s master thesis, a symphonic poem titled Moonlight Sprite, which describes the various landscapes of imaginary sprites in nature. The compositional techniques include whole tone scale, octatonic scale, pentatonic scale, atonality, bitonality, polytonality, tone clusters, and minimalism. The piece’s orchestration style and techniques are mainly influenced by Stravinsky, Bartok, Schoenberg, Webern, Penderecki, Charles Ives, and Dinos Constantinides.

Part two is an analysis of the text setting of Henry Purcell’s opera, Dido and Aeneas. After exploring Purcell’s biography, the characteristics of the Baroque music period, and all of Purcell’s works across different genres, this study meticulously analyzes his musical devices for text setting and provides score examples. Ultimately, the analysis reveals Purcell’s effective use of ascending and descending melodic lines to represent the text phrases’ various moods or feelings, embellishments to express the nuance of the words, and harmonic structures to support the atmosphere of various scenes. The analysis emphasizes the importance of Dido and Aeneas as a piece of English Baroque theater music in Western music history. In addition, this dissertation draws attention to a misprinting of Ellen Harris’ score edition of Dido and Aeneas, thereby providing Oxford University Press with an opportunity to correct it. Henry Purcell’s compositional techniques such as ascending and descending melodic lines, bass ostinato, and harmonic structure in Dido and Aeneas are reinterpreted and used in Symphony No. 2. Thus, Dido and Aeneas and Symphony No. 2 share some compositional devices.

Committee Chair

Constantinides, Dinos

Included in

Composition Commons

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