Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Hermeto Pascoal is one of the most prolific composers of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, having composed thousands of pieces across his career. Despite his immense and eclectic catalogue, the current analytical literature on him is comparatively scant, particularly outside of the composer’s native Brazil. In order to represent the diversity of his music, this dissertation studies a collection of his works entitled the Calendário do Som. This collection was an exercise in daily composition and comprises 366 short pieces written from July 23, 1996 to July 23, 1997. Through the analysis of the pieces in this collection, this dissertation situates Hermeto’s music in the context of the many genres upon which it draws, including Brazilian instrumental music and jazz. While various methodological frameworks, including Schoenbergian, neo-Riemannian, and jazz theory explain parts of the composer’s oeuvre, his idiosyncratic style necessitates analytical and interpretational flexibility. This dissertation analyzes four aspects of the Calendário do Som. First, I begin with an overview of many subgenres of instrumental Brazilian popular music including choro, samba, and baião, as well as exploring Hermeto’s place in the context of North American jazz to show the influence of these genres on Hermeto’s music and his place within these musical lineages. Next, I study how the extra-musical factors Hermeto recorded on the manuscripts to this music affect musical style throughout the collection. Following these discussions of genre and style, I explore Hermeto’s unique conception of harmony and study its intersections with other established views of harmony, particularly those of Schoenberg, George Russell, and Dave Brubeck. Finally, this dissertation ends with an analysis of representative pieces from the collection demonstrating analytical tools which may help in further understanding and interpreting Hermeto’s music.



Committee Chair

Bazayev, Inessa



Included in

Music Theory Commons