Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Sandra Kungle


The oratorios of George Frideric Handel (1685-1759) contain many outstanding arias. The typical aria is ordinarily diatonic and is a combination of symmetrical and asymmetrical phrase-lengths. Although sharing the same basic musical style, these arias are often quite different. Their ranges extend from the interval of a minor seventh to two octaves and sixty-six percent of them are set in forms other than da capo. In addition, the oratorio arias display a diversity of orchestration ranging from continuo arias to those that call for as many as eighteen different instruments. The main body of this paper is contained in chapters III through VI. Four hundred and forty-six arias have been included in this study and each has been annotated according to the following categories: (1) Chrysander edition volume number, (2) Page number within the oratorio volume, (3) Librettist, (4) Text source, (5) Range, (6) Tessitura, (7) Tempo, (8) Musical style, (9) Affection, (10) Musical form, (11) Meter, (12) Presence of an appropriate recitative preceding the aria, (13) Name of the oratorical character singing the aria, (14) Key, (15) Orchestration, (16) Opera seria aria type, and (17) Available vocal scores containing the aria. The catalogue portion of this paper is divided into four sections: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, Bass. Each of these sections is arranged by oratorio in alphabetical order, and the arias are listed according to their page number in the Chrysander Handel-Gesellschaft. Eight additional indices are also included. The arias are indexed in the following ways: (1) Alphabetical, (2) Oratorio, (3) Biblical Sources, (4) Tempo, (5) Affection, (6) Form, (7) Key, and (8) Opera seria aria type. Chapter VII contains arias from three other oratorios by Handel which are not based on biblical text but which contain values similar to the oratorios included in the main body of this paper. The arias in this chapter are organized in the same manner as described above. Chapter II contains information on influences affecting Handel's compositional style, differences in Opera seria arias and oratorio arias, and other aspects of Handel's English oratorio arias.