Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Dinos Constantinides


This dissertation consists of two parts. Part I is an analytical survey of a composition entitled Etudes pour piano - premier livre, (1985) by Gyorgy Ligeti. Part II is an original composition entitled The Song of Glory, An Original Opera in One Act. Etudes pour piano - premier livre, by Gyorgy Ligeti is a collection of six pieces for piano. The etudes won the 1986 University of Louisville Grawemeyer Award--the largest cash award for composition. The etudes feature continuous motion and cross-accentuation which creates polyrhythmic effects. The purpose of part I is to survey the compositional techniques and materials used in the music. The survey will illustrate the interrelationships among the pieces by comparing the elements and procedures of composition. The analysis is descriptive in nature dealing objectively with the elements of melody, harmony, rhythm, form, and counterpoint. The structures employed in the etudes are often of such a nature as to elude the terminology and concepts of a singular common practice period. Therefore, the methods of analysis incorporate a diversity of heuristic procedures. The analysis is not intended to present an exhaustive investigation of the music, but an overview of the compositional techniques. The Song of Glory, An Original Opera in One Act, is scored for chamber orchestra and soloists. The libretto, written by the composer, depicts the pathos of Scott's South Polar Party of 1912. The instrumentation calls for woodwinds, horn, trombone, one percussionist, and strings. The vocal requirements are two tenors, two baritones, and one bass. The instrumentation reflects a concern for economy. It is calculated to be effective, offering timbral variety and strength, yet economical enough for typical university new-music performance resources. The action takes place in three scenes separated by orchestral interludes. In scene I, the scenario is established as the characters reflect on their situation. In scene II, the ghost of a former sojourner who died earlier in the expedition appears to all but the captain. One character dies after leaving the tent to meet the specter. In scene III, the captain continues journal entries while the remaining characters perish.