Date of Award
Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)
Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band by Karel Husa is regarded as one of the great wind concertos of the 20th century. It is an atonal composition with an unusual and complex rhythmic language. In and of itself analysis is a creative and intellectual endeavor. It also can give the performer a deeper understanding of the piece so that he or she can give a better performance. This paper is the first analysis of Husa's concerto to use Allen Forte's set theory method of melodic and harmonic analysis. The rhythm analysis is unique in that it recognizes the philosophical nature of Husa's rhythmic ideas and his intent to compose with a new means of rhythmic expression, namely a dialectic approach to meter and pulse. There is a push and pull against an often underlying and obscured pulse and meter. Rhythmic ideas are not always grouped in a regularly recurring strong-weak beat pattern of traditional meter. Melodic and harmonic analysis using set theory has revealed that pitch material is unified by set class 4-5 (0126) from the opening motive presented in the Prologue. Changes in pitch collections both melodically and harmonically correspond with changes in rhythm, dynamic, and orchestration and often help to articulate the form.
Burns, Kevin Robert, "Karel Husa's Concerto for Alto Saxophone and Concert Band: a Performer's Analysis." (2000). LSU Historical Dissertations and Theses. 7245.