Honors Program Theses

Award Winner

Recipient of the 2020 Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award, Third Prize.

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Year of Award

2020 Award


Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Randall Harlow, Honors Thesis Advisor, School of Music


Grisey, Gérard; Lindberg, Magnus, 1958-; Spectral music; Time in music;


This paper analyzes and compares the music of two composers, Gérard Grisey and Magnus Lindberg, focusing on how each treats the passage of time in his music. These composers were deliberately selected because Grisey helped launch the spectral music movement in the 1970s and 80s, while Lindberg is still alive and writing music today. Though Grisey is not as well-known of a composer as others during that time, this paper strives to show how his ideas concerning the passage of time in music influenced the music of his students and other composers, even those who do not claim to be “spectral” composers. Using the “skeleton,” “flesh,” and “skin” of time to identify the quantitative, qualitative, and subjective aspects of temporal matters within music, Grisey also introduced a continuum that labels different types of time from completely predictable and regular to completely random and discontinuous. These concepts transformed music by assigning more focus to the phenomenological nature of music and perception, and through analysis of a Lindberg piece composed in the last ten years, the reader will see the effects of Grisey’s teachings and approach on the music of one of today’s premier composers.

Year of Submission



School of Music

University Honors Designation

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

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (55 pages)



File Format


Included in

Musicology Commons