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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Four twelve-tone violin compositions: Performance practice and preparation
by Lee, Sheri Renee, D.M.A., University of Cincinnati, 2009, 169; 3371492
Abstract (Summary)

This project explores strategies for the study and performance of specific twelve-tone violin compositions: Phantasy, op. 47 (1949) by Arnold Schoenberg, Solo Sonata (1953) by Roger Sessions, Violin Concerto (1963) by Alberto Ginastera and Melismata (1982) by Milton Babbitt. Special attention is placed on interpretational philosophy, salient musical constructs and performance challenges of the pieces.

Chapter One's three sections provide background information on the selected composers and compositions. The first section explores each composer's view of and approach to dodecaphony and discusses their common aesthetic as twelve-tone composers. The second section describes the relationships among the composers and performers who premiered the pieces, an element which may be critical to the compositional processes. Audience reactions to early performances of the pieces are also characterized. Finally, the author provides a discussion of selected recordings and performances, and provides a guide to listening to those performances as a strategy for developing a personal, but informed interpretation.

In Chapter Two, the author examines twelve-tone compositional features of each composition that would be most salient in the quest to arrive at a coherent and convincing performance. This chapter also discusses both similarities and differences of styles and structures among the featured pieces, based on specific compositional characteristics including both broader structural elements and small motives.

In Chapter Three the author provides strategies on how violinists can overcome the technical challenges of the instrument. Twelve-tone compositions are well suited for the violin, in that the instrument can handle large leaps and sudden contrasts in dynamics, register and range. However, the demands on the performer require an unusual degree of control. This chapter features discussions on violin techniques that focus on coordination between the ears, fingerboard, and arms as well as sections on locating and pre-hearing pitches, deciphering rhythms, and extended violin techniques. Practical advice about printed instructions, color-enhancing notation, and displaying pages in a performance is also included.

This paper is intended to offer a foundation that is both appropriate and useful for violinists studying these works. Preparing modern music for performance is an experience of constant revelation that is both challenging and rewarding. With this research the author strives to provide the context in which the performer understands the compositional constructs and the performance practices specific to a successful performance.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Cahn, Steven
School: University of Cincinnati
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-A 70/09, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Music, Music
Keywords: Argentina, Babbitt, Milton, Ginastera, Alberto, Performance practice, Schoenberg, Arnold, Sessions, Roger, Twelve-tone, Violin
Publication Number: 3371492
ISBN: 978-1-109-37415-5
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