Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type

Major Paper


American composer Miriam Gideon (1906-1996) is highly recognized for her vocal chamber music and her contribution to the Jewish Synagogue service. Her musical style has been described as both lyrical and expressionistic, highly engaging, with strong prevalence of dissonance and chromaticism. This study examines Miriam Gideon's cantata The Habitable Earth from a conductor's point of view. Its purpose is to increase familiarity with the work among choral musicians. The study offers detailed analysis and suggestions for performance procedures, which may also be used for understanding other twentieth century choral works. Chapter One provides biographical information with concentration on Gideon's musical education and a discussion of her compositional output with a demonstration of important stylistic features. Chapter Two examines the text and its sources as well as the formal structure of the cantata. Chapter Three introduces the terms ffree atonality, emancipation of the dissonance, cell motives and cell intervals, pitch class sets and tertian chords with split members, which are used in the detailed analysis of Part I, Part II and Part III of the cantata. Chapter Four presents additional stylistic observations about the melodic and harmonic formations, the writing for choir, soloists and instruments, tempo, articulation and dynamics. In addition, it offers suggestions for rehearsal procedures.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Kenneth Fulton

Included in

Music Commons