Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



Document Type

Major Paper


For years, Australian composer Nigel Butterley (b.1935 ) has composed a variety of types of composition for voice which are little-known outside of Australia, but which nonetheless merit consideration and performance. This dissertation is an effort to introduce more performers to his work, and to facilitate future performances of it. Central to any performance of his works is an understanding of his desire to integrate the poetic and textual structures of the original pieces into his own musical setting of those pieces, and in so doing to highlight the themes of the originals. Performers can gain insight into the significance of words and language to Butterley by understanding his intellectual and musical formation and development. A similar purpose is served by careful analysis of the structure of his works, which make significant use of motifs and a variety of musical devices, such as melisma, to serve as guideposts for the performer. The first chapter offers some biographical information about Butterley, as well as information about his approach to composition for solo voice, and Chapter Two serves as an introduction to his early vocal works, including some of his simpler compositions as well as pieces for which performers might have difficulty assembling the required instrumental forces. Chapters Three, Four, and Five analyze Butterley’s The Owl (1983), The Woven Light (1994), and Frogs (1995), in an effort to explicate Buttereley’s carefully-constructed musical cues and clues.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Patricia O'Neill

Included in

Music Commons