Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Co-Mark Ostoich

Second Advisor

Richard Kaplan


Sequenza VII by Luciano Berio is regarded as one of the major twentieth-century pieces for the oboe. Its unique sounds and logic make it both fascinating and complex. Great demands are put on the performer, who must produce difficult, unconventional sounds. The listener is likewise challenged to accept this new language. An initial hearing can leave a listener excited though baffled, as a first look at the score can cause trepidation even in a fearless performer. The purpose of this paper is to find some order to this compelling piece. This comprehensive study is undertaken from three different perspectives, each of these angles providing the topic for a separate chapter. Chapter One is a short biographical sketch of Luciano Berio, including discussion of works and philosophies leading to the composition of Sequenza VII. Also included is a section on the evolution of the entire Sequenza series. Chapter Two is an analytical discussion focusing on such aspects as the omnipresent b; the nature of pitch structure, including pitch introductions and octave specificity; serial considerations; an "infinite proliferation" in the generation of pitch and rhythmic material; "harmonic fields"; pitch cells; polyphony; similarities to the English horn solo from the Third Act of Wagner's Tristan und Isolde; the four aspects of tension; and the form of the work. Chapter Three explores the creation and execution of the "twentieth-century techniques" necessary for the performance of the work, as well as suggestions for interpretation based on the analysis in Chapter Two. The Appendix provides various alternate fingerings compiled from other sources.