Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Sandra Kungle


An investigation of the Georgian poetry settings of Michael Head (1900-1976) constitutes the central purpose of this study. To that purpose the Georgian settings are documented, and the stylistic procedures explored. In addition, Head's complete solo song output has been catalogued. This study is divided into five chapters and one appendix. Chapter I furnishes introductory information about the study. Chapter II defines Georgian poetry. Chapter III explores the stylistic features apparent in the works of two influential predecessors in the field of the English solo art song, Roger Quilter and Peter Warlock. Chapter IV examines the Georgian solo art song settings of some of Michael Head's contemporaries. Chapter V furnishes introductory information about Michael Head and explores stylistic features apparent in the Georgian poetry settings of this composer. The appendix constitutes a Catalogue of the 122 solo art songs by Michael Head. Comprising a chronological conspectus, with listings of poets, available keys, and range and tessitura of the songs, the catalogue supplies a systematic guide to this composer's complete solo song output. The solo art song comprises the major portion of the total output by British composer Michael Head. These 122 songs were written over a span of some 58 years, from 1918 until his death in 1976. As Head referred to work within traditional systems, his style is eclectic. He used a wide variety of styles in the composition of his songs, never developing an individual style. Modal inflection, Impressionistic devices, chordal and contrapuntal techniques, Romantic tendencies in range and doublings, and descriptive writing result in an approach to art song often lacking in definition and depth. Because of the variety of styles and because Head's approach was much like that of Georgian poets: simple and descriptive, Georgian poetry is used as the delineating feature for this overview of Head's songs.