Music Theory Online

A Journal of Criticism, Commentary, Research, and Scholarship


Volume 7, Number 4, July 2001
Copyright � 2001 Society for Music Theory

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New Dissertations


Bryden, Kristy A. "Musical Conclusions: Exploring Closural Processes in Five Late Twentieth-Century Chamber Works." University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2001.

AUTHOR: Bryden, Kristy A.
TITLE: Musical Conclusions: Exploring Closural Processes in Five Late Twentieth-Century Chamber Works
INSTITUTION: University of Wisconsin-Madison
BEGUN: May, 1998
COMPLETED: May, 2001

ABSTRACT: In tonal music of the common-practice era, closural processes are a well-defined phenomenon. These processes, however, are not as well understood in recent nontonal music. This study meets the need for more work in this area by examining closural processes in five recent American chamber works. These works include Joan Tower�s Petroushskates, the �Overtura� from John Harbison�s Piano Quintet, the �Invention� from George Perle�s Wind Quintet No. 4, Ralph Shapey�s Concertante No. 1 for Trumpet and 10 Players, and Barbara Kolb�s Umbrian Colors.

In chapter one, I introduce the concept of closure by analyzing the closural processes in the Adagio quasi un poco andante movement from Beethoven�s String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131. In the second chapter, I develop six principles that serve as a base for exploring closure. Closural processes are (1) temporal and may operate on both local and larger more global levels, (2) lines of increasing intensity followed by lines of decreasing intensity, (3) the creation and then either the fulfillment or postponement of expectations, (4) a summary of past events, (5) the highlighting of concluding moments, and (6) transitional techniques leading into or foreshadowing the following event. This chapter investigates how musical motion provides a sense of closure and introduces my method to use graphs to represent visually the rising and falling sense of intensity in a work.

In chapter three, I demonstrate how each of the closural principles formalized in chapter two occurs in each of the selected works. In the fourth chapter, I summarize how these works carry out these general principles in their own unique way. An appendix includes a graph for each of the selected works and for Beethoven�s Adagio quasi un poco andante and an explanation of how I developed the intensity curves for each graph.

KEYWORDS: Joan Tower, John Harbison, George Perle, Ralph Shapey, Barbara Kolb

Chapter One: What Is It That Creates the Sensation of Closure in Tonal Music?

Chapter Two: Musical Motion Expressed Through Lines of Intensity

Chapter Three: Principles of Closure

Chapter Four: Conclusions

2830 Torrey Pines Rd.
Ames IA 50014

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Lapidaki, Eleni. "Consistency of Tempo Judgments as a Measure of Time Experience in Music Listening." Northwestern University, 1996.

AUTHOR: Lapidaki, Eleni
TITLE: Consistency of Tempo Judgments as a Measure of Time Experience in Music Listening
INSTITUTION: Northwestern University, School of Music
COMPLETED: June 1996

ABSTRACT: This study was designed to determine whether listeners from different age groups (30 adults, 30 adolescents, and 30 preadolescents) and musical backgrounds (musicians and nonmusicians) could set tempi in a consistent manner over an extended period of time.  The variables of musical style (e.g., Baroque, Impressionistic, contemporary idiom, rock ballad, and dance music), familiarity, and preference were also considered. Subjects heard the same six compositions on four separate occasions. Each session systematically varied the order of the presentation and the initial tempo of the examples. Each was recorded digitally and performed in real time with a computer controlling a MIDI synthesizer. Subjects were asked to listen to each piece and indicate whether the experimenter should set the tempo "faster" or "slower" until it sounded right to them.

Results of repeated measures ANOVAs indicated that the initial tempo significantly dominated subjects� "right" tempo judgments: the slower initial tempo generally evoked slower tempo selections, and so on. However, a relatively small number of adults, mostly musicians, were remarkably consistent in their tempo judgments across all four trials. It appeared that these individuals possess an exceptional ability with respect to acute stability of large-scale timing in music that was labeled "absolute tempo."

There was also evidence that the degree of consistency in right tempo judgments gradually increased from preadolescence through adulthood. Few statistically significant differences in consistency of tempo judgments were found as a result of musical background. Findings strongly suggested that the style of musical examples influenced the degree of tempo consistency across trials. Moreover, there was statistically significant evidence that an increase of familiarity with the musical examples and the musical styles resulted in an increase of consistency of right tempo judgments. Finally, there was statistically significant evidence that subjects tended to render more consistent tempo judgments for the pieces they like than for the ones they dislike.

This research was awarded the "Outstanding Dissertation Award for 1996" by the Council for Research in Music Education (CRME) during Music Education National Conference (MENC) in Phoenix, AZ, U.S.A., April 1998.

KEYWORDS: musical time, tempo perceptio, absolute tempo, musical ability, depelopmental psychology of music, music education

Purpose of the Study
Research Questions
Need for the Study
Organization of the Study
Background for the Study
Relation of the Dissertation to the Center for the Study of Education and the Musical Experience (CSEME)
The Problem of Time: A Perennial Issue of Bifurcation
Absolute Time
Relational Time
New Concepts of Time in the Twentieth Century
The Dialectic of Time in Music
The Significance of Tempo in Music

General Considerations
Physiological Basis of the Sense of Tempo
Psychological Tempo  in Music Listening and Performance
The Impact of Tempo on Affective Responses to Music
Tempo Changes in Music Performance
The Ability for Discrimination of Tempo Changes in Music Listening
Defining Personal Factors of Tempo Perception:
Musical Background
Preference and Familiarity
Consistency in Tempo Perception

Basic Assumptions
Research Questions
Characteristics and Selection of Musical Examples

Presentation of Data
Research Question 1:  Consistency of Tempo Judgments
Research Question 2:  The Variable of Age
Research Question 3:  The Variable of Musical Background
Research Question 4:  The Variable of Musical Style
Research Question 5a:  The Variable of Familiarity with Musical Examples
Research Question 5b:  The Variable of Familiarity with Musical Styles
Research Question 6:  The Variable of Preference
Discussion of Results:
Consistency of Tempo Judgments
Absolute Tempo
The Variable of Age
The Variable of Musical Background
The Variable of Musical Style
The Variable of Familiarity
The Variable of Preference

Additional Reflections
Summary:depelopmental psychology of music
Representative Ideas of Time, Musical Time, and Tempo
Related Empirical Research
Review of the Present Study
Recommendations for music research
Recommendations for music education

Dr. Eleni Lapidaki
Faculty of Music
Department of Musical Studies
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki
54006 thessaloniki

Office phone/voicemail: +30 31 995876

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Lowe, Bethany L. "Performance, Analysis, and Interpretation in Sibelius's Fifth Symphony." University of Southampton, 2000.

AUTHOR: Lowe, Bethany L
TITLE: Performance, Analysis, and Interpretation in Sibelius's Fifth Symphony
INSTITUTION: University of Southampton
BEGUN: October 1995
COMPLETED: November 2000

ABSTRACT: The relationship between performance and analysis has been a topic of much debate in recent musicological studies. This thesis addresses this issue from both theoretical and practical perspectives, using the first movement of Sibelius�s Fifth Symphony as a case study.

The first chapter establishes a conceptual model for the relationship between these two disciplines which incorporates �interpretation� as an additional, mediatory element. This resolves several ideological and musical problems, and provides a schema for all activities which aim to relate both disciplines. The second chapter explores the reception of Sibelius�s Fifth Symphony in a sample of analytical writings, and considers their contrasting structural insights, using an investigation of metaphorical writing. Thus the pertinent structural issues of this piece are established prior to the third chapter, which combines both previous approaches in an analytical investigation of forty-one recorded performances of Sibelius�s Fifth Symphony. Various methodological and philosophical issues relevant to this discipline are clarified, before the recordings are examined through the tempo outlines which were found through an application of empirical methodology. The structural insights in these recordings are explored and categorised, and the possible connections between these performances, analytical writings, and accompanying programme notes are considered.

KEYWORDS: recording, tempo, analysis, Sibelius, reception, symphony, symphonic, performance, metaphor, interpretation

Introduction to the literature

Chapter One: Interpretation
The relation between Analysis and Performance
The Interpretation

Chapter Two: Analysis
Analysis of Sibelius's Fifth Symphony, first movement
The blind men and the elephant?
Metaphor and Learning
The analysts

Chapter Three: Performance
Introduction to Performance Analysis (contributions, methodology, philosophical issues, and graphs)
One-movement interpretations (inc. Kajanus)
Two-movement interpretations (inc. Karajan)
Other structural traditions ('stepped' and 'diagonal')
Local features (recapitulation, rotation parallelism, transition parameters)
Programme notes

Appendix 1: On the 1915 and 1916 versions of the Symphony
Appendix 2: On the movement division at bar 106, and the structure of the 'scherzo'
Appendix 3: Discography
Appendix 4: Set of Reference Graphs
Appendix 5: Update following the publication of the revised New Grove Dictionary



Department of Music
Armstrong Building
University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle NE1 7RU
England, UK

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Updated 01 February 2005