Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tonal-Serial Hybridity in the Works of Three Composers of the Walt Disney Studios with an Analysis of Patrick Gibson's Nexus–Music for a Shadow Animation for Chamber Orchestra
by Gibson, Patrick Luprete, Ph.D., University of California, Riverside, 2020, 357; 27828523
Abstract (Summary)

Film composers of the Modernist Era, by nature of their unique role occupying both a commercial and an aesthetic space, served two masters of necessity: the narrative needs of their client’s or studio’s film production, and their own need to create artistically satisfying music. They were free, however, of the need to justify their aesthetic choices and their choice of compositional methodologies for a given project to those in academia. This, I argue, proved to be compositionally advantageous for film composers, when one considers the imperative for academic justification experienced by their contemporaries in concert music, in that it allowed film composers greater freedom when considering a compositional methodology for a given score or section of a score. It is my contention that this relative freedom, and the practical necessity of producing striking original film scores, played a role in film composers’ adoption of some of the compositional techniques of modernist concert music composers and the integration of those techniques into their scores. This phenomenon can be readily observed in the film, television, and theme park music of three of the great Disney underscore composers of the era: Oliver Wallace, George Bruns, and Norman “Buddy” Baker.

Taking inspiration from the example of these groundbreaking composers, I composed Nexus: Music for a Shadow Animation (2019), in an attempt to realize the potential applications of some of my predecessors’ compositional techniques for twenty-first century concert music. Employing analytical and semiotic research methodologies, this paper investigates revelatory passages within the works of the above-mentioned composers, discussed alongside analogous use of similar techniques by modernist concert music composers, such as, Igor Stravinsky, Frank Martin, Arnold Schoenberg, and Karel Husa. The paper further analyzes the application of these techniques within Nexus, thus demonstrating a means of using these materials.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Dicke, Ian
Commitee: Chagas, Paulo C, Hickman, Roger
School: University of California, Riverside
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI 81/11(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Musical composition, Music theory, Music history
Keywords: Composition, Disney, Film music, Serialism, Twelve-tone, Walt Disney Studios
Publication Number: 27828523
ISBN: 9798645425579
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