Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



The composition Cinematic Suite for Orchestra is composed for full orchestra. This Suite, in three parts, was inspired by the works and compositional influences of several select classical and film composers who have greatly inspired my personal aesthetic towards symphonic music as they have for many composers of my generation. This work is not necessarily intended to sound purely like the works of these earlier composers but instead, to borrow from their compositional techniques, aesthetics, and overall sonic influence as needed to serve the purpose of my own personal muses. The First Movement was inspired by the grand symphonic style of late Romantic composers Richard Wagner, Richard Strauss, and Sergei Prokofiev, but also that of more recent Hollywood composers such as John Williams and Danny Elfman. It is intended to sound powerful and reflect the full dramatic power of the orchestra. A reference to Chopin’s Prelude in C Minor represents a tribute the first significant recital piece I ever performed publically as a young piano student. The Second Movement finds inspiration from a trip to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The indigenous music of this country shares similarities with the music of New Orleans. Built around the danceable rhythm of the Samba and the warm expressive quality of the clarinet, the piece demonstrates creolized music as a merging of African and European aesthetics. In addition, this movement contains an orchestral interpretation of the Africanized and ritually charged experience of the culture of capoeira. My intentions in creating this piece were to reflect the influences of “pop” orchestration as popularized by such composers as Henry Mancini and Quincy Jones. Using a stately melody, the Third Movement introduces serial techniques by morphing in and out of tonality as influenced by composers such as Charles Ives and Alban Berg. I also borrowed from the influence of Bernard Herrmann incorporating dense harmonic clusters, tonal colors favoring more obscure instruments, highly contrasting ranges and the ostinato. Part II: Important Film Composers and The Evolutions of Film Music from Hollywood’s Golden Age spans over 75 years of film music and a select group of its most innovative composers in an attempt to demonstrate the most important and lasting influences within this artistic medium. Following the advent of sound films in the 1920s the “Golden Age” of Hollywood of the 1930s and 1940s, evolved into an industry both establishing and codifying compositional approaches towards film music. These innovative and visionary composers borrowed from various influences including both European art music and American popular music traditions. Their works represent important shifts in the direction of film music setting new standards for their generation and future generations alike that extend far beyond the world of film. For the purposes of this dissertation I will explore a select group of highly innovative and influential American based Hollywood film composers spanning five generations. I will explore the significance of the cultural environment from which they developed, including their educational and early professional experiences. I will discuss important cultural, technological, and industrial changes that encouraged the direction of music to shift away from predominantly European concert influence towards jazz, popular, world, and computer generated music. In analyzing these composers and their select scores I will explore their different compositional approaches as to understand their purpose as related to film and their intent towards the intended audience. I will examine the unique perspectives of these composers addressing the explicit and implicit characteristics of their music in creating both entertaining music while below the surface working to manipulate the emotional state of the audience.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Constantinides, Dinos



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Music Commons