Music Theory Online

A Journal of Criticism, Commentary, Research, and Scholarship


Volume 7, Number 2, April 2001
Copyright � 2001 Society for Music Theory

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New Dissertations


Blom-Smith, Richard N. W. "A Theory of Accent in Tonal Music with an Assessment of Selected Modern Accentologies." University of London, 1994.

AUTHOR: Blom-Smith, Richard N. W.
TITLE: A Theory of Accent in Tonal Music with an Assessment of Selected Modern Accentologies
INSTITUTION: King's College London, University of London
BEGUN: October, 1988
COMPLETED: April, 1994

ABSTRACT: Although it is widely accepted that the subject of accent is of general importance to theories of rhythm, there is considerable diversity and frequent contradiction among modern concepts of accent; there is little agreement about either a definition or a list of types. Furthermore, whilst there is much of great value in modern accentology, none of the most important individual studies is wholly adequate.

The broad explanatory context by which accent may be defined is metric theory, for accent is both a determinant and a function of metric structure. Metric structure must necessarily be conceived as a genuinely temporal and context-sensitive process in which that which 'measures' is constantly redefined by that which is 'measured'. It therefore has both a time-span component and what may be called a 'phenomenal' component.

An accent is a structural time-point; it is a time-point which is constituent of the highly specified hierarchy of metric structure. This is what the two main classes of accent, metric accent and phenomenal accent, have in common. These two classes of accent are distinct, however, in respect of their determinants and their functions. Whereas metric accents are determined by metric structure, phenomenal accents are determined by accentual events. With regard to their functions, metric accents structure coincident events, whereas phenomenal accents structure meter.

Metric accent has no sub-classes; all metric accents are of fundamentally the same kind. Phenomenal accent has eight sub-classes, each of which is defined by its determining event: attack accent, dynamic accent, initiative accent, agogic accent, tonal accent, terminative accent, registral accent, and associated accent. All of these classes of accent logically follow from other components of the accentology and are intuitively demonstrable in especially composed musical examples.

KEYWORDS: accent, meter, rhythm, phenomenal, time-point, time-span, agogic, tonal, temporality

1. The Accentologies of Roger Sessions, Lerdahl and Jackendoff, and Jonathan Kramer
2. The Accentologies of Cooper and Meyer and John Graziano
3. The Accentologies of Wallace Berry and William Benjamin
4. The Accentologies of Anne Alexandra Pierce, William Caplin, and Joel Lester
5. Toward a Theory of Meter
6. A Definition of Accent
7. A Taxonomy of Accent
8. Attack Accent and Dynamic Accent
9. Initiative Accent
10. Agogic Accent
11. Tonal Accent
12. Terminative Accent
13. Registral Accent
14. Associated Accent

Richard Blom-Smith
18 St Andrew's Way
Cambridge CB4 9NQ
United Kingdom
phone: 00 44 1223 563341
fax: 00 44 1223 521640

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Campbell, Edward. "Boulez and Expression: A Deleuzoguattarian Approach." University of Edinburgh, 2000.

AUTHOR: Campbell, Edward
TITLE: Boulez and Expression: A Deleuzoguattarian Approach
INSTITUTION: University of Edinburgh
BEGUN: October 1994
COMPLETED: June 2000

ABSTRACT: This study considers Boulez�s music in terms of both structure and expression. In order to do so, it reorients and retheorises the problematic concept of �expression�, freeing it from unhelpful previous usage. The post-structuralist theory of expression of the philosophers Deleuze and Guattari is explored in order to provide a means whereby musical structure and expression can be reconciled within one account. For Deleuze and Guattari, expression is a rhizomatic, connective affair in which a musical composition may be viewed as an �assemblage�, as the product of flows from a number of media, which provide levels of expression and content for one another through their inter-connectivity. While Boulez rejects a particular Romantic notion of expression, he clearly accepts the existence of a level of expression within music albeit as something which he has not fully theorised for himself.

Having articulated a theory of expression, the greater part of the thesis is taken up with the consideration of three main concepts which may be said to be �expressive� within Boulez�s music, in terms of the theory. These are difference as variation, musical spatiality and musical temporality. Difference is considered at the levels of athematicism (the virtual theme), open form (virtual form), accumulative development and heterophony (the virtual line). Spatiality is considered in terms of Boulez�s �diagonal� pitch dimension, smooth and striated pitch-space, the use of register, the articulation of a composition around significant polar pitches, timbral space and the use of the external auditorium space. Time and temporality are considered in the contrast of smooth and striated time.

KEYWORDS: Boulez, Deleuze and Guattari, Expression, Difference, Virtual Theme, Virtual Form, Accumulative Development, Heterophony, Spatiality, Temporality

Introduction 1

1. Boulez as Composer: A Critical Survey 5
Descriptive Analyses 10
Reconstructive Analyses 11
Ecriture and Perception 16
More Specific Studies 20
Musical Modernism: Creative Connections 23
Orientations 27

2. Boulez and Expression 33
Topic Theory and Mythic Semes 35
Musical Modernism and Expression 39
Boulez and Expression 43
Musical Content and Expression 52
Content and Expression: A Deleuzoguattarian Perspective 57
A New Image of Thought 63
Boulez: A Rhizomatic Approach 71

3. Boulez and Musical Difference
Introduction 77
Deleuzian Difference 79
Twentieth Century Music, Difference and Repetition 88
Athematicism: The Virtual Theme 98
The Open Work: Virtual Form 122
Difference as �Accumulative Development� 136
Heterophony: The Virtual Line 141
Boulezian Heterophony and the Deleuzian Fold 147
Difference and Repetition: Loose Ends 149
Summary and Conclusion 152

4. Boulez and Musical Spatiality
Introduction 158
What is Musical Pitch-Space? 160
Interior Pitch-Space and the Diagonal 166
Smooth and Striated Space 179
Registral Space 188
Polar Notes 216
Exterior Spatiality 226
Timbre Space 239
Summary and Conclusion 252

5. Boulez, Time and Temporality
Introduction 255
Music, Time and Temporality 257
Modernism, Time and Temporality - Bergson and Proust 262
Time and Temporality within Twentieth Century Music 268
Boulez, Tempo and Duration 276 Two Temporalities: Smooth and Striated Time - In Theory 280
Smooth and Striated Time - In Practice 286
Static Temporality within Post-War Music 306
A Deleuzoguattarian View 309
Summary and Conclusion 316

Conclusion 321
Bibliography 328

Dr Edward Campbell
15 Hailes Crescent

Tel: 0131 441 6883

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Rogers, Nancy M. "The Role of Verbal Encoding in Memory for Musical Timbre and Pitch Patterns." University of Rochester, 2000.

AUTHOR: Rogers, Nancy M.
TITLE: The Role of Verbal Encoding in Memory for Musical Timbre and Pitch Patterns
INSTITUTION: University of Rochester
COMPLETED: July, 2000

ABSTRACT: Musical understanding relies heavily upon the listener�s memory, and our capacity to remember aural events is critical to our musical understanding. This does not mean, however, that music must be encoded in (and retrieved from) memory exclusively as sensory representations. Instead, musical memory might also be encoded by other means, such as verbal or kinesthetic representations. This dissertation examines aspects of verbal encoding of musical stimuli.

Numerous researchers have confirmed that language apparently influences visual memory � for instance, the ability to recognize colors, faces, and pictures. Similar linguistic effects have been observed involving memory for taste, odor, and non-musical sound. However, we are only beginning to investigate the role of verbal encoding specifically in musical memory.

After reviewing the relevant literature and introducing concepts fundamental to my dissertation, I present a series of original experiments addressing the verbal component of musical memory. The first two experiments address memory for timbre, and the last two experiments focus on pitch patterns in a diatonic context. The results of all four experiments suggest that trained musicians employ verbal encoding strategies when attempting to remember musical stimuli.

Labels (e.g., instrument names for timbres or solf�ge syllables for pitches) were shown to have an overall positive impact on musical memory, although some detrimental effects were also observed. In general, correctly named items were more likely to be recognized as targets and correctly rejected as lures than were incorrectly named items. Items that were not correctly identified were especially likely to produce false alarms when presented as lures. Both pitch experiments demonstrated a positive relationship between the ability to identify notes as solf�ge syllables and overall performance in a pitch-pattern recognition task. The pedagogical implications of these results are discussed.

KEYWORDS: cognition, perception, verbal encoding, language, memory, labels, timbre, pitch, experiment

1. Introduction
2. Long-term memory for timbre
3. Short-term memory for timbre
4. Short-term memory for untransposed pitch patterns
5. Short-term memory for transposed pitch patterns
6. Conclusions

Lawrence University Conservatory of Music
420 East College Avenue
Appleton, WI 54911
(920) 832-6824 office; (920) 832-6633 FAX

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Scrivener, Julie A. "Representations of Time and Space in the Player Piano Studies of Conlon Nancarrow." Michigan State University, 2002.

AUTHOR: Scrivener, Julie A.
TITLE: Representations of Time and Space in the Player Piano Studies of Conlon Nancarrow
INSTITUTION: Michigan State University
BEGUN: May 2000

ABSTRACT: The Studies for player piano by Conlon Nancarrow (1912�1997) have attracted attention from musical analysts for their innovations in rhythm and tempo, including the use of isorhythm, different techniques of acceleration and deceleration, and simultaneous use of different tempos in sometimes very complex textures. Still, despite an observation by Philip Carlsen in 1986 that the critical literature on Nancarrow's work was very small, this deficit has been only partially addressed with the publication since then of a major analytical book by Kyle Gann (1995), a 1996 dissertation by Margaret Thomas, and a small number of articles and reviews.

The present study is intended to expand the literature by examining specific structural features native to the Studies. The dissertation begins with an in-depth look at the four major analytical sources on Nancarrow's Studies: Carlsen, Gann, Thomas, and CD liner notes and an article written by James Tenney. Four Studies (Nos. 8, 19, 23, and 35) are treated by each of the four major sources, and the analytical treatment of these Studies is compared.

In Chapter 2, the examination of the use of ratios in the Studies identifies Nancarrow's favored ratios and their relationship to the Fibonacci series and pitch ratios in the justly-tuned chromatic scale. Uses of ratios to control various parameters are identified, including: tempo relationships, rhythmic motives, melodic and harmonic materials, and structure. The use of ratios is the focus of a comprehensive analysis of Study No. 34.

The next two chapters focus on features of Nancarrow's "tempo canons": canonic pieces in which the various voices present canonic material at different speeds. Chapter 3 examines the structural use of convergence points, which are a prominent feature of these Studies because the canonic voices are either converging or diverging most of the time. The structural impact of the convergence points, and techniques for emphasizing and de-emphasizing them, are the focus for this chapter. The chapter concludes with an analysis of Study No. 27.

Chapter 4 identifies fractal features in Nancarrow's tempo canons. The defining fractal characteristics of self-iteration, scaling, and space-filling are identified as they correspond to formal features in which the same musical material is presented at different tempos to create large-scale "fractal forms." Perhaps the most compelling fractal forms are created in the canons whose overall form is either converging (where just one convergence point occurs at the very end of the piece) or converging-diverging (an arch form where a single convergence point occurs somewhere in the middle of the piece). Study No. 32, an example of the former, is analyzed in detail.

The fifth chapter traces a roughly chronological development of Nancarrow's compositional technique, including the features already identified plus such features as blues, ostinato and isorhythm, acceleration/deceleration (including "countdowns" and other numerical series), and use of irrational ratios. Two examples of "mature" works that combine a number of these elements are analyzed: Studies No. 25 and 45.

The final chapter summarizes the findings of the study and offers suggestions for future study of this compelling body of 20th-century musical literature.

KEYWORDS: tempo canon, convergence point, player piano, fractal, isorhythm, pitch ratio

Ch. 1: Introduction and Review of the Literature
Ch. 2: Nancarrow's Use of Ratios
Ch. 3: Structural Use of Convergence Points
Ch. 4: Fractal Characteristics and Forms
Ch. 5: Development of a Musical Style
Ch. 6: Conclusions and Suggestions for Further Study

Julie A. Scrivener
1721 Sunnyside Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49048
ph./fax (616) 344-8322

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prepared by
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Updated 14 November, 2002