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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Beethoven’s Egmont, Count Egmont: An Imaginary Reading of Beethoven’s Overture
by Williams, Matthew, Ph.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, 2021, 135; 28314929
Abstract (Summary)

Much of the surface structure—the immediate drama of the music—has become lost in scholarship concerning Beethoven’s Egmont overture. References to large-scale processes, whether they manifest as exhumations of deeply-embedded hierarchical events or as organic outgrowths of smaller motivic germs, paint an interpretive picture of a composer obsessed with high-level compositional practices. This dissertation instead develops a theory of analysis in which the musical surface drives the analytical perspective. Rather than deferring to subsurface musical events, I highlight the drama often missed in traditional large-scale analysis using hyper-focused, shallow-level technologies unified with agency.

My fictional, mixed-reality agency machine, Reactive-Environment-Musical-You (or REMY), incorporates surface-level methodologies with historically-indebted musical agency. The analytical methodologies include pitch-class counterpoint, slicing the musical surface into distinct yet interconnected harmonic states, and maximal outerplanar graphs, graphically depicting musical hierarchy. “REMY” folds surface-level analyses and musical agency into a second-person, user-generated mixed-reality set within the historical confines of the programmatic work in question; here, in the mid-16th century Low Countries. This particular historically-driven perspective provides new musical insights of Beethoven’s programmatic Egmont, and fashions the high-level, linear-minded composer into one reveling in the moment-to-moment dramatic immediacy of the Dutch Beeldenstorms.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Moseley, Brian
Commitee: Vander Wel, Stephanie, Currie, James
School: State University of New York at Buffalo
Department: Music
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 82/8(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music theory, Musical performances, Music
Keywords: Agency, Beethoven, Egmont, Maximal Outerplanar Graphs, Mixed-Reality, Pitch-Class Counterpoint
Publication Number: 28314929
ISBN: 9798582508373
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