Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



This monograph is an examination of Oliver Messiaen’s influence in the violoncello solo and chamber compositions of Tōru Takemitsu. A total of sixteen pieces: Le Son Calligraphie I (1958), Le Son Calligraphie III (1960), Scene (1959), Landscape (1960), Corona II (1962), Valeria (1969), Quatrain (1975), Quatrain II (1977), Waterways (1978), A Way Alone (1981), Orion for Violoncello and Piano (1984), Orion and Pleiades: Concerto for Violoncello and Orchestra (1984), Entre-Temps (1986), A Solitary Road (1988), Herbstlied (1993), and Between Tides (1993), are studied to determine the degree of Messiaen’s influence. The research is through a cellistic and musicological analysis including music theory, history, and performance practice. Messiaen’s three main compositional outlines, religious influences, human transcending to divine love, and inspiration from nature as well as more technical compositional techniques such as the use of microtones and the frequent use of stasis to create a sense of space are examined. These techniques range from the employment of textual layering, sophisticated rhythmic devices, to separating pitch from rhythm. Cellistic techniques include innovative fingering or passages, sustained harmonics, and the use of register. Each composition, as allowed, are also analyzed using Messiaen’s modes of limited transposition including any connected color to the modes as described by Jonathan W. Bernard in his article Messiaen’s Synaesthesia: The Correspondence between Color and Sound Structure in His Music. The monograph is divided into three separate chapters with two sections each, totaling six different sections. Chapter 1 contains the introduction and music history of traditional Japanese music including general attributes that tie in with French musical characteristics. Chapter 2 contains the biographies and musical characteristics of the composers Takemitsu and Messiaen. The final chapter (3) contains the analysis of all sixteen pieces listed above and the conclusions from those observations. There are varying degrees of influence most of which contain Messiaen traits and compositional aesthetics as delineated above. A chart displaying the chronological order of the compositions as well as the general divisions of Takemitsu’s styles, also shows the change made by Quatrain, the piece styled and influenced directly from Messiaen’s Quator pour la fin du temps.



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Committee Chair

Parker, Dennis



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