(alphabetical by author's last name)

Voice-Leading Fantasy: An Examination of Maximally-Smooth Voice Leading among PC Sets

Andre Bregegere, City University of New York

The study of voice-leading among pitch sets and pitch-class sets has been a prominent topic of music theory in the past twenty years. A variety of approaches, focused on harmonic similarity, transformational networks, or parsimonious voice-leading, have more recently been subsumed under a geometrical model based on a mapping of pitch or pc sets onto dimensional coordinates using the semitone as a metric. These developments have led to some early attempts to establish a general typology of voice-leading sets (vlset) and voice-leading classes (vlclass), as a higher-level analog to the pc-set and set-class typologies.

My paper examines vlsets and vlclasses from a purposely narrowed perspective, limited to instances of Maximally-Smooth (MS) voice leading—i.e., wherein motion between pcs is limited to one semitone. I show that there exist, for each cardinality, only a relatively limited number of MS-vlsets, and an even smaller number of MS-vlclasses. Focusing initially on pcsets and set-classes of cardinality two and three (including multisets), I examine the connections between MS- vlsets and vlclasses and various types of set relations (T/I, K-net isographies, sum classes), and explore the various geometrical features of the resulting voice-leading spaces. I then extend these observations to other cardinalities, and conclude with suggestions for a unified, systematic typology of MS-vlsets and vlclasses for all cardinalities.


The Spiritual Experience of Jonathan Harvey's Body Mandala

Evan Campbell, McGill University

Jonathan Harvey believed that "Music's connection with spirituality can be thought of as music acting as a trigger for the spiritual experience" (Harvey 1999). Despite recent studies on Harvey's music (Palmer 2001; Downes 2009), scholars have yet to pinpoint these spiritual "triggers" in his works. This paper identifies specific compositional techniques as triggers, linking passages from Harvey's mesmerizing orchestral work Body Mandala (2006) to four kinds of spiritual experiences. I describe how these experiences are inspired by Harvey's own Buddhist spirituality, and how they shape the formal trajectory of the work.

I begin with an overview of Harvey's interviews and writings, in which he refers to four key spiritual experiences: Unity, Ambiguity, Transcendence, and Emptiness. Harvey's remarks provide enough detail to identify the particular musical features that shape these experiences in Body Mandala. I go on to describe how Unity, Ambiguity and Transcendence interact to generate a formal push toward a climactic Emptiness section. This climax presents the main thematic material of the work in a formless, abstract state, which I interpret as Harvey's attempt to evoke Emptiness—a core tenant of his Mahayana Buddhist faith. This climactic section, and Body Mandala as a whole, is meant to rise above the sonic and touch the listener's spirit. Whether Harvey achieves this lofty goal depends on the listener, but there can be little doubt that his spirituality lies at the heart of the work.


The Construction of the Musical Fabric in the Fifth Movement of Schnittke's Concerto Grosso, No. 1

Soh Young Choi, University of Cincinnati

Alfred Schnittke's Concerto Grosso No. 1 (1977) is one of his most representative polystylistic works. It incorporates seven themes, each based on a different musical style. To date, there have not been any analyses that identify the specific musical techniques by which Schnittke combines the themes and creates a large-scale "musical fabric" that stretches over the entire movement. As a result, the overall trajectory by which the movement creates, reinforces, and accumulates tension has not previously been recognized. In this paper, I propose a new analytical method based on three factors: the juxtaposition and stratification of the themes, the clashes between tonal and atonal sounds, and the interaction between solo and tutti instruments. Through this three-dimensional complex, I examine how tension and its climactic trajectory determine the musical fabric of the entire fifth movement. The paper outlines and defines the specific strategies for each factor. The examples illustrate how Schnittke creates a long-range development of tension up to the last refrain, which features the strongest tension through the maximal combination of the three factors, and then makes the entire coda the climax of the movement, which twists the expectation of resolution by creating further tension through strong clashes between tonal and atonal sounds.


Formal Functions of Semitonal Modulations in Chopin's Music

Heewon Chung, University of Michigan/Seoul National University

This paper examines Chopin's chromatic harmony and its coordination with chromatic voice leading by focusing on his use of semitonal relationships. The specific compositional technique identified in this paper, semitonal modulation, involves an unusual voice-leading event, one that disrupts a passage's tonal focus. Besides raising theoretical issues in the study of chromaticism, I argue that recognizing this feature of semitonal relationships offers analysts a vantage point for interpreting semitonal relationships in formal designs as well. I explore formal functions of two types of semitonal modulations: 1) those that involve a cadential progression; and 2) those that blur formal boundaries. First, a semitonal shift becomes an effective way to expand and dramatize the resolution of tension, as illustrated in the last moments of the Waltz in A♭ Major, Op. 42 and the Fantasy Op. 49. Also related to the final cadence, a brief digression in the first movement of the B♭-Minor Sonata, Op. 35 weakens the movement's sense of closure, showing a failed attempt to complete the cadence in the home key. Second, there are cases where a semitonal modulation blurs formal boundaries. In the Mazurka in C Minor, Op. 56, No. 3 and the Ballade in F Minor, Op. 52, a dividing point between the two sections is disguised by being located in the middle of the semitonal modulatory process. The paper concludes by noting that Chopin's use of semitonal modulations at certain cadences and formal junctures resonates with other issues such as motivic content and large-scale tonal structure.


Between Reality and Imagination: Listening to Claude Vivier's Lonely Child

Christopher Gainey, University of British Columbia

Broadly speaking, there are at least two ways of cognitively processing music: 1) a "holistic" listening strategy in which one attends primarily to a work's emergent timbral qualities by privileging the perceptual fusion of complex sonorities and 2) an "atomistic" listening strategy in which one attends primarily to a work's component parts by privileging the perceptual dissolution of complex sonorities. In this analytical study, I explore an excerpt from Vivier's Lonely Child in a way that accounts for both extremes of perceptual priority. First, I describe the ten timbre-harmonies from the excerpt in detail from both pitch/harmonic and frequential/timbral perspectives. Next, I attend to differences between the timbre-harmonies and describe the emergence of sensations that engender the perception of a hierarchical timbral-harmonic progression. Then, I compare pitch- and frequency-based analytical accounts with an ear towards how listeners' might weigh the benefits of holistic and atomistic listening in their own perceptions. Finally, I consider ways in which Vivier's idiosyncratic orchestration might affect one's perceptions of the work's underlying timbral-harmonic structure.


Exploration of Sound in Vivier's Zipangu (1980)

Mylène Gioffredo, McGill University

During the 20th and 21st centuries, art and popular occidental instrumental music departed from the romantic compositional paradigm. Both in North America and Europe, composers sought to broaden sonic possibilities, resulting in the abolition of the traditional hierarchy of parameters (such as pitches and rhythms) thus giving more space to those usually considered as secondary (timbre, extended techniques, etc.). Recognising this paradigm shift in the compositional thinking of this time is, however, not without consequences for our analytical methods: to what extent should we give importance to traditional parameters in our analysis? Which analytical tool could help us in discussing other sonic parameters?

This paper addresses the question of the potentials and limits of both traditional and alternative tools for the analysis of those musics based on and not with Sound, through a study of Claude Vivier's late Zipangu, for 13 solo string instruments. With the help of Vivier's sketches, I demonstrate that the entire piece is based on variations of a principal melody and its harmonic field mainly through register expansion, harmonic compression, and rhythmic manipulation. Nevertheless, choosing to narrow the timbral possibilities to one instrumental family led Vivier to explore alternative ways to create variety in the texture through a wide range of extended techniques and the spatialisation of the orchestra into two groups. Applying spectromorphological analytical tools to the piece such as those developed for analysing electronic music allows us to reveal new ways of understanding Vivier's Zipangu.


Harmony, Rhetoric, and Linearity in Morton Feldman's Piano and String Quartet

Ryan Howard, City University of New York

Morton Feldman spoke early in his career about his desire to create a music free from "compositional rhetoric," yet examination of the works written late in the composer's life reveals a far more complex relationship with musical rhetoric than has often been acknowledged. In his later writings Feldman hinted at the notion of illusory function and directionality in his music, as well as to the phenomenon of "negation"—suggestive statements that, I contend, are richly reflected in his extended-length compositions of the 1980s, which frequently feature tantalizing suggestions of conventional musical argument and narrative. This paper will examine certain musical elements in Piano and String Quartet (1985) that, by virtue of their context and interrelations, are suggestive of particular formal or rhetorical functions, due in part to the presence of a sense of causality among musical materials on both a small and large scale: locally, changes that occur in one or more musical domains seem to anticipate proximate changes in others, while over larger spans of time, minor, perhaps seemingly transient, changes in a single domain eventually give rise to larger, more substantive changes in that same domain. The formal and rhetorical associations of specific musical ideas become "negated" over the course of the work as these ideas are repeated and varied stripped of their original contexts, frequently taking on different associations or seemingly losing a sense of definite rhetorical meaning altogether.


Grasping the Essential Sound: Aesthetic Parallels in Takemitsu's Acoustic and Tape Works

Nicholas Jurkowski, University of California at Santa Barbara

From the late 1950s to the early 1960s, Toru Takemitsu's instrumental music showed a growing attention to timbral subtlety and the shaping of individual sound events. While this is often tied to Takemitsu's increased contact with the ideas and music of John Cage, his aesthetic shift begins earlier than this first contact. In particular, Takemitsu's musique concrète works from this era show a preoccupation with timbral manipulation, a heightened attention to the relationship between sound and silence, and a loosening of conventional phrase structures that can be related to his instrumental works. Through comparison and analysis, I hope to provide a more complete picture of Takemitsu's development, arguing that the composer's acoustic and tape works coalesce around these musical characteristics, independent of the media for which they are composed.

Through an analysis of score and spectrographs, I demonstrate the similarities between the concrète Water Music and the equal-tempered Piano Distance. Both eschew conventional large-scale forms, instead concentrating on the gradual development of timbrally nuanced micro-gestures, punctuated by silence, and creating a comprehensible musical fabric without relying on typical phrase structures. Piano Distance employs recurring pitch-class collections and similarly contoured motivic fragments, while Water Music combines differently processed sounds from the same source to create brief but related sequences of events. I conclude this case study by exploring the complicated set of influences that drove Takemitsu's compositional development in this direction, extending beyond the conventional description of Cage's influence to include the under-appreciated role of technology.


Meter and Memory: A Bergsonian Interpretation of George Crumb's Dream Images

Kristina Knowles, Northwestern University

In his 1896 monograph, Matter and Memory, Henri Bergson describes the process of trying to recover a recollection, wherein we detach ourselves from the present in order to "replace" ourselves in the past, "a work of adjustment, something like the focussing of a camera" (171). This concept of an image slowly coming into focus seems an apt description of how Crumb sets quotations from Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu Op. 66 in his composition, "Dream Images," Makrokosmos I. These quotations gradually emerge out of a hazy, unmetered texture, gaining in solidity as the previous material fades away. In this paper, I utilize Bergson's theory of memory as an interpretive lens to examine the compositional and perceptual role of these quotations within the musical work. Bergson's view of memory-images as sensorimotor establishes the notion of an embodied memory. This bears a resemblance to the way meter becomes embodied for the entrained listener, a process that can be experienced in the metrical Chopin quotations. These passages stand in direct contrast with the unmetered and fragmentary passages composed by Crumb, which deny entrainment and evoke a slow experience of time passing by focussing the listener's attention on the unfolding 'now'. The end result is an oscillation between a timeless present lost in reverie and a sense of temporal movement within an embodied memory.


Playing with Shadows: Recorded Playback as a Formal Device in Georg Friedrich Haas's Ein Schattenspiel

Robert Landon Morrison, McGill University

Austrian composer Georg Friedrich Haas has garnered considerable attention lately for his ability to assimilate diverse theoretical approaches to pitch organization into a cohesive musical language. Less recognized are the composer's recent forays into the musique mixte genre, in which he relies on an economical use of technology to facilitate an impressive range of interaction between the performer(s) and live electronics. This paper explores this aspect of Haas's music through a close reading of his 2004 work for piano and live electronics, Ein Schattenspiel. In this work, the music is driven by underlying formal processes that are constructed using a relatively simple technical procedure—recorded playback. As Haas explains, the material played by the piano is "recorded and delayed before being played back a quartertone higher [...] through this, the tempo becomes slightly faster, as if the whole was recorded on a tape recorder, which was then played back at a slightly faster speed." This rather straightforward technical configuration carries important musical consequences. Regarding pitch, the setup provides a composite quartertone tuning system, harkening back to the ultrachromatic universe pioneered by Ivan Wyschnegradsky. In the temporal realm, the re-injection of recorded materials yields recursive, cyclical phrase structures, which are then shaped by opposing processes such as subtraction-addition, acceleration-deceleration, and contraction-extension. The end result is an elaborately constructed confrontation between the performer and live electronics that vividly illustrates the extra-musical "shadow play" indicated by the work's title.


Rhythmic Process in Pierrot Lunaire

John Muniz, University of Arizona

Schoenberg's atonal works, particularly Pierrot Lunaire, have been fertile ground for rhythmic and metric analysis in recent decades. Many extant analyses involve layered pulse streams that move at different speeds (e.g. Roeder 1994, Lewin 2006, and Malin 2008); rhythmic/metrical novelty and aesthetic interest arise through deviations from an established ("entrained") pulse or through accentual interaction among multiple pulse layers. Pierrot Lunaire, however, presents difficulties for this methodology, since the songs are metrically fluid and seldom maintain a single dominant pulse. Likewise, keeping track of many competing periodicities (as in Roeder 1994) can be perceptually arduous. Christopher Hasty (1997) has further critiqued the pulse-stream paradigm on various grounds: pulses typically occur at idealized, dimensionless time points and are often analyzed quasi-synchronically although they occur diachronically.

I argue that an approach based on qualitative features of rhythm, rather than pulse streams, clarifies our rhythmic experience of Pierrot Lunaire (and, by implication, Schoenberg's other atonal works). Event-types identified by Hasty (ibid.)—beginning (|), continuation (\), anacrusis (/), deferral (— before \ or /), reinterpretation (→), and hiatus (||)—offer a foundation for identifying several distinct rhythmic processes (such as "anacrustic expansion" and "metrical formation") that create momentum, musical-textual coordination, and cohesion among songs.


Salience, Common Tones, and Middleground Dissonance in the Fourth Chorus of Brad Mehldau's Improvisation on "All the Things You Are"

Richard Pellegrin, University of Missouri

This presentation examines the relationship between pitch stability and salience (a function of metric placement, duration, parallelism, loudness, register, etc.) in performances by Bill Evans, Herbie Hancock, and Brad Mehldau, with special attention given to the usage of common tones. A Bill Evans improvisation on his composition "Bill's Hit Tune" is first presented to illustrate how upper chord tones may form ascending middleground lines that work against their implied resolutions, temporarily privileging salience over stability. A passage of a Herbie Hancock improvisation on "Autumn Leaves" is then presented to illustrate how common tones can also privilege salience over stability by frustrating the resolving tendencies of unstable chord tones (though sometimes a repeated tone may lose its "need to resolve" (Strunk 1985)).

The remainder of the presentation focuses on the fourth chorus of Brad Mehldau's improvisation on "All the Things You Are," that which appears on his 1999 album, Art of the Trio, Volume 4: Back at the Vanguard. My analysis brings together elements from both the Evans and Hancock examples, demonstrating how middleground common tones which are salient but often unstable combine to form plateaus, ascending (and descending) lines, and a coherent large-scale structure.


The Melodies of L'Orestie and Pierre Boulez's New Compositional Method

Joseph Salem, University of Victoria

L'Orestie is Pierre Boulez's only major orchestral work for theater. It was commissioned by the Compangie Madeleine Renaud – Jean-Louis Barrault in the fall of 1954 for the spring of 1955, and it has since been withdrawn from the composer's catalogue. The work is arguably Boulez's longest, yet it was written quickly among a host of professional and personal distractions. My paper discusses the compositional process behind two elements of the finale to the three-act tragedy, including the generation and development of a key vocal part, as well as the development of an instrumental introduction and corresponding refrain. Tracing the rather varied development of these compositional elements reveals a host of entirely new and surprising compositional procedures, including several non-serial techniques for creating and expanding this movement from a single vocal particella to a large-scale finale with independent instrumental interludes. While a number of these tactics were likely pragmatic solutions designed to accommodate the hurried rehearsal schedule of the theater, they ultimately foreshadow a number of significant changes to Boulez's working method in a myriad of later works.


Do They Know They are Dancing? Diegetic Movement in Ballet

Rachel Short, University of California at Santa Barbara

Do the characters in a ballet know that they are dancing? In films, opera, and musical theatre, music that is created as part of the plot, music the characters know is happening, is called "diegetic music." I propose that a similar situation can occur in ballet when, as part of the story being told, characters knowingly perform a dance. I call this previously unexplored condition "diegetic movement," and in this paper investigate how it correlates with a ballet's music. My examples are selections from Leonard Bernstein and Jerome Robbins' 1944 ballet Fancy Free, a story following three sailors on a one-night shore leave. The ballet's narrative provides opportunities for diegetic movement as the sailors enter a bar, attempt to woo the women they meet, and end up brawling together, instances where shifting between movement styles furthers the dramatic flow.

My methodology classifies diegetic movement into three main types: Gestures (with blatant narrative function), Diegetic Dance (indicating dance steps), and Ballet (crossing into continual movement), and subcategories that explore whether dancing and music concur. A noteworthy example of Diegetic Dance happens in the tender duet when both music and dance depict the transitory nature of the romance. The couple's knowledge that they are dancing together changes their movements, creating poignant meaning when combined with transient musical phrases. My investigation into these combinations of dance types and exploration of the dancers' awareness that they are "dancing" offers a clearer understanding of how music and choreography together construct meaning and tell a story.


Ordered Successions in the Music of Ralph Shapey

Barry Wiener, New York, NY

In his article, "A Further Step (1958)," Elliott Carter asserted that many of his fellow composers felt a pressing need to formulate a "new principle of musical structure." Carter suggested that continuity techniques, types of musical motion and methods of development were of greater concern to composers than harmony. During the early 1960s, Carter's younger contemporary, Ralph Shapey (1921-2003), wrote a series of works that established his importance as a leading American voice in the discourse about new concepts of continuity.

Shapey's music represents a fusion of Schoenbergian metamorphic process and Varésian stasis, methods for the creation of musical continuity that are usually considered incompatible. Previous analyses of Shapey's music have focused on his use of "graven images" to unify his works. In contrast, I employ Gretchen Horlacher's concept of "ordered successions" in Stravinsky's music as the model for my analysis of the fourth movement of Shapey's Incantations for Soprano and Ten Instruments (1961). Following Horlacher, I divide the entire soprano line of the movement into fifteen segments. The segments are, in turn, subdivided into varied presentations of a set of four motives, differentiated by duration, rhythm, direction and articulation, as well as by pc content.

Within this framework, Shapey generates structural dynamism by employing Stefan Wolpe's techniques of motivic permutation and aggregate completion. In addition, he employs motives and pc sets to delineate sectional divisions and create formal correspondences.


Extension of the Minimally Divergent Contour Network and its Application to Ruth Crawford's String Quartet, Mvt. 3

Yi-Cheng Daniel Wu, Soochow University

Responding to cumbersome algorithms and complex arithmetic used by theorists in developing their contour similarity measurements, Yi-Cheng Daniel Wu 2013 proposes a more accessible theory called the minimally divergent contour network. It contains fifteen different pitch contour types interconnected by horizontal, vertical, or diagonal lines. Within the network, we easily test the contour similarity by measuring the shortest distance—the fewest lines on the path—between any two contour types. The distance may range from 0 to 4 steps: from two utterly identical to two drastically different types.

Although Wu's network is easy to apply, it has a significant methodological limit. That is, its fifteen contour types contain letter symbols—Initial, Final, Highest, Lowest—decidedly describing the relative pitch heights. These symbols narrow the practical usage of Wu's network in terms of its application to contours delineated by other musical elements like rhythm or dynamics. Hence, this project slightly modifies Wu's contour types by using four numbers -1, 0, 1, and 2 to replace his letter symbols. These numbers do not possess any connotation of pitch height, providing greater flexibility that can be used to translate all musical elements into a contour type.

To demonstrate the advantage of this modified theory, I apply it to analyze the relationship between dynamic contour and musical form in Ruth Crawford's String Quartet, Mvt. 3. I find that the essential changes in contour similarity always coincide with the structural boundary between different parts of the composition, sharpening the formal division in Crawford's schematic design.


Stravinsky's Competing Structural Fifths: An Extension of Straus's Biquintal Fifths

Kaitlynn Zigterman, University of California at Santa Barbara

Current focus in Stravinsky research has attempted to find a unified and consistent analytical method for his music, as it evolved throughout his three periods yet always remained identifiably his own sound. Straus's 2014 article "Harmony and Voice Leading in the Music of Stravinsky," claims a majority of Stravinsky's work can be explained through the utilization of two structural fifths, one voiced melodically and the other harmonically. However, there are still many passages which seem to fall outside the parameters of the method.

While remaining within the basic paradigms of Straus's system, I address some of these outlying cases in a limited sample set of Stravinsky's works, presenting musical situations that test some of the theory's limits. Straus never fully explains his particular melodic, rhythmic, or tonal criteria for considering a fifth as structural. I contend a majority of the outlying material involves an additional fifth—melodic or harmonic—competing for structural status and complicating one dimension of the bi-quintal model.

I present several examples which demonstrate competing harmonic and melodic structural fifths in Stravinsky, elaborating on musical criteria which establishes these ambiguous conditions. By choosing a narrower set of pieces, the number of instances where competing structural fifths are in evidence leads me to believe similar occurrences can be found throughout the whole of Stravinsky's music.