Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Advisor

Dinos Constantinides


This dissertation consists of two parts: a discussion of the ostinato patterns in Carl Orff's five-act opera Antigone and an original composition for organ and orchestra, In Nomine. The purpose of Part One is to discuss the different applications of the ostinato idea throughout the opera Antigone as this is an integral part of the work. This part is divided into five chapters. The first chapter focuses on biographical background of the composer, his stylistic transformations, and his interest in a total musical theater. The second chapter introduces definitions and music examples of the ostinato and ground bass, associated with different historic periods and musical styles. In the third chapter attention is given to the opera Antigone, based on Holderlin's creative translation of the ancient tragedy. The fourth chapter is a discussion of different kinds of the ostinato patterns, used by Orff to support his musical interpretation of Sophocles' play. This chapter also emphasizes some structural characteristics controlled by different ostinato ideas created by the composer. Priority is given to the relationships between ostinato patterns and the basic types of foot, derived from Greek verse prosody. Finally, the last chapter summarizes the composer's extensive use of ostinato patterns throughout the entire opera. In conclusion, the opera Antigone is the composer's glorification of ostinato patterns, as related to his contemporary vision of a total theater. Part Two of this dissertation is the author's original composition for organ and orchestra entitled In Nomine. The work is in three movements and is based on the original scale called Gamma. Gamma is very active and it acts as a universal force which can lead to many other forces manifested by other scales. The scale resources are related to the concept of open tonality developed by the composer since 1985. This system is in opposition to the traditional tonal system in which the main force of activity is a sonority, the dominant that dominates the flow of the music and leads to only one predetermined resolution (tonic), thus closing the circle of the music.