Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



This project applies mathematically informed narrative to monophonic music in the twentieth century, with a focus on three works for solo woodwinds: Debussy’s Syrinx (flute), Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for Clarinet, and Britten’s “Bacchus” from Six Metamorphoses after Ovid, Op. 49 (oboe). This music poses difficulties for traditional analytical methods due to a lack of explicit harmonies and unusual pitch language that is neither functionally tonal nor serially atonal. Additionally, these pieces present a variety of challenges due to differences in length, number of movements, and presence or absence of programmatic elements. Therefore, nontraditional methods could be beneficial for understanding these idiosyncratic pieces. Mathematical and transformational approaches have shown that such descriptions can elegantly illustrate pitch language in a wide variety of tonal and atonal styles. Visual transformational and geometric approaches, such as oriented networks and graphic representations, can assist in illustrating important changes that take place during a piece. Narrative theory approaches analysis from another viewpoint. While not all music can be considered narrative, a narrative paradigm is applicable to a wide range of musical styles. Because narrative theories focus on large-scale topical and gestural changes for building interpretations, it complements the locally focused nature of transformational theory. Together, a mathematically informed narrative method can reveal connections that are not immediately obvious in these works, and help a listener or performer create an informed interpretation.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Peck, Robert



Included in

Music Commons