Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type



American composer and pianist Amy Marcy Cheney Beach -- Mrs. H. H. A. Beach (1867-1944) was born in Henniker, New Hampshire. She is recognized as the best American composer of her time. She was the first American woman to compose large-scale art music, and she was also a virtuosic pianist. The "Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Minor, Op. 34" (1896) is Beach’s most representative chamber music work. It contains four movements, with Classical formal design, and expresses a style featured in late Romantic music. The Violin Sonata begins with a large, imposing movement, followed by a folk-like second movement. The expressive third movement contains Wagnerian infinite melody. The work ends with an energetic finale. Beach conveys intense feelings and emotions throughout the Violin Sonata, along with her phenomenal compositional technique. The purpose of this monograph is to provide an historical, analytical, and stylistic study of Beach’s Violin Sonata. Chapter 1 presents biographical information of Beach. Chapter 2 introduces Beach’s violin and piano music and her major chamber music compositions. Chapter 3 provides historical reviews on the premiere performances of the Violin Sonata in the United States and Europe. Chapter 4 analyzes the Violin Sonata considering the following issues: formal structure, melodic and harmonic characteristics, the treatment of violin in combination with piano, and the idiomatic violin and piano writing. Chapter 5 is the conclusion. The catalog of Beach’s music and her "Music’s Ten Commandments As Given For Young Composers" is collected in the Appendices.



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Committee Chair

Robert Peck



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