Master of Music (MM)



Document Type



Concepts related to style change have been discussed thoroughly by theorists such as Leonard Meyer and others. In the case of Czech scholar, Antonín Dvořák, this change relates directly to his pentatonic style. While many musicologists suggest that the composer's travels to the United States in the early 1890's had a profound effect on the birth of his pentatonic style, this thesis posits that Dvořák's pentatonicism is apparent from even his earliest works. In examining evidence of this pentatonicism it becomes clear that, for Dvořák, there are two types: thematic and cadential. Thematic pentatonicism arises from themes of works or movements which only include pitches found within the traditional Western pentatonic scale (scale degrees 1, 2, 3, 5, and 6). Cadential pentatonicism is more abstract in that it only makes an appearance during the close of phrases, sections, or melodic gestures. In these moments, often a rising or falling pentatonic scale will be heard in one or more melody instruments with a harmonic accompaniment that moves towards a tonic structure. In order to better understand and find these two factors, a corpus study was used along with various statistical and programming tools. The use of these tools allowed for a quicker and more thorough examination of various themes and figures for elements of pentatonicism. The results of this corpus study hint towards further research into the fields of pentatonic structure, Czech folk music, and the composer himself, Antonín Dvořák



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Shanahan, Daniel



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Music Commons