Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Robert Grayson


This monograph includes limited biographical and historical data intended to show Elsa Respighi's chronological and technical relationship within the sphere of twentieth-century vocal music. The poets who provided text for her music are reviewed, and a discussion of her treatment of the text is summarized. This study deals with twelve solo songs of Elsa Respighi. Each song was inspected for the following: melody, harmony, form, and piano accompaniment. These elements were discussed from the viewpoint of the performer. The survey yielded the following information about each song. Seven songs list the name of a poet, five songs do not. Six songs are written in stanzaic form, five are in free form and one is in a narrative/dialogue form. Elsa Respighi's compositional style is planned. Her musical form evolves from the form of the poetry. The accent of the text is the structure by which she creates her melodies. The poetry and the melodic line serve as ways to sectionalize the songs. The tonal shifts define the sections and support the poetic mood changes. The piano accompaniment enhances the melodies and promotes text painting. The typical song of Elsa Respighi shows standard tonic/dominant functions, chromatic mediant motion, modal mixture and an independent piano accompaniment. Elsa Respighi's songs reveal lyricism, tonal expansion, and sensitivity to poetic content, all resulting in a variety of musical styles.