Dissertation Index

Author: Amos, Laura Christine

Title: An Examination of 1920s Parisian Polytonality: Milhaud's Ballet La Creation du monde

Institution: The University of Texas at Austin

Begun: January 2003

Completed: May 2007


This dissertation examines the role of polytonality in Milhaud's works of the 1920s. It is accomplished through a contextual examination of the cultural meaning of polytonal music in Paris and a study of contemporary analytical techniques for this repertoire. The goal of this study is to facilitate the analysis of polytonal textures that are embedded at both the foreground and background levels of Milhaud's compositions.

Chapter 1 examines the attitudes of Parisian critics, scholars, and musicians regarding the viability of polytonality as a musical practice in post-war France. Chapter 2 discusses Milhaud's views and compositional procedures of polytonality, including his response to the Parisian polytonal debates. Chapter 3 explores recent scholars' forays into the analysis of Milhaud's polytonal works. These studies primarily explain Milhaud's polytonality through three methods: pc set analysis, descriptive analysis, and linear analysis. Chapter 4 analyzes Milhaud's La Creation du monde in a polytonal context through the application of Joseph N. Straus' theory of tonal axes, Charles Koechlin's jalon vertical, and linear analysis.

Keywords: Milhaud, polytonality, linear analysis, axial analysis, La Creation du monde, history of theory, Charles Koechlin, Les Six


Introduction: New Perspectives of Milhaud's 1920s Works

Chapter 1: The 1920s Polytonality Debates in the Parisian Press

Chapter 2: Milhaud's Polytonality

Chapter 3: Current Analytical Perspectives of Milhaud's Polytonality

Chapter 4: An Axial-Based Analysis of Milhaud's Polytonal Textures - La Creation du Monde, Opus 81

Works Cited



Christine Amos
Music Dept - The University of Texas at San Antonio
One UTSA Circle
San Antonio, TX 78249-0645


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