Award/Availability

Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

John Wiles

Abstract

Choral music is a unique art form because it combines text with music. This juxtaposition allows the two elements to enhance each other, working together to create a clearer product. Composers of choral music must make carefully informed decisions when selecting a text and deciding how to set it to music. The characteristics of the text can have observable effects on the choices a composer makes in their setting. These effects are the subject of this thesis. I wanted to study musical settings of one poet to determine whether certain characteristics of the poetry had noticeable effects when set by various composers. I studied a representative selection of choral pieces setting the poetry of Christina Rossetti in order to determine the relationship between the text and the music. I began by reviewing dozens of choral settings of Rossetti’s poems and selecting a portion for closer analysis. I chose multiple poems set by the same composer as well as multiple settings of the same poem by different composers to identify similarities and differences between the settings. I conducted a detailed musical analysis of each piece, observing things like style, texture, harmony, form, rhythm, and character. Next, I organized a small ensemble of singers and led rehearsals of the selected music, using my analysis to inform the rehearsal process. Finally, this project culminated in a recorded performance of the selected pieces, accompanied by my commentary on the results of my analysis.

Date of Award

2017

Department

School of Music

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original

2017

Object Description

1 PDF file (20 pages)

Language

EN

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