Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



Composer Rudy Davenport aims to create music that is more relatable than the atonal compositions often associated with 20th century composers. Inspired by his own Appalachian and Cherokee heritages, Davenport, in collaboration with librettist Delilah Elsen, developed his own musical genre called “Appalachian Romanticism”. This genre is evident in his work BYNA: Life Songs of a Southern Appalachian Woman of Cherokee Descent for Soprano, Piano, Oboe & Cello. The purpose of this study is to understand and describe Rudy Davenport’s view on 20th century composition. To obtain this information I interviewed Davenport posing questions about his biography and musical preferences, and I attended a rehearsal and performance of BYNA. I also interviewed librettist Delilah Elsen to seek biographical information and performance techniques used in BYNA (literary content, pre-concert activities, lighting and dialect). In addition to these interviews, I analyzed the musical score of BYNA to discern and define Davenport’s treatment of rhythm, text, and harmony. As a result I discovered an effective way to successfully execute BYNA’s score is to recognize and interpret the rich historical background of Appalachian and Cherokee cultures, as well as, reoccurring patterns, tone painting, harmonic language and treatment of text found in the music Appendices provide information on the history and production of double weave river cane baskets and Appalachian/Cherokee dialect transcriptions through the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA).



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Grayson, Robert



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Music Commons