Title page for ETD etd-04142005-224115

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Hung, Yu-Hsien Judy
Author's Email Address yhung1@lsu.edu
URN etd-04142005-224115
Title The Violin Sonata of Amy Beach
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Robert Peck Committee Chair
Kevork Mardirossian Committee Co-Chair
Julian Shew Committee Member
Michael Gurt Committee Member
Katrina Powell Dean's Representative
  • american woman composer
  • violin sonata
  • amy beach
  • chamber music
Date of Defense 2004-12-10
Availability unrestricted
American composer and pianist Amy Marcy Cheney Beach -- Mrs. H. H. A. Beach (1867-1944) was born in Henniker, New Hampshire. She is recognized as the best American composer of her time. She was the first American woman to compose large-scale art music, and she was also a virtuosic pianist.

The "Sonata for Violin and Piano in A Minor, Op. 34" (1896) is Beach’s most representative chamber music work. It contains four movements, with Classical formal design, and expresses a style featured in late Romantic music. The Violin Sonata begins with a large, imposing movement, followed by a folk-like second movement. The expressive third movement contains Wagnerian infinite melody. The work ends with an energetic finale. Beach conveys intense feelings and emotions throughout the Violin Sonata, along with her phenomenal compositional technique.

The purpose of this monograph is to provide an historical, analytical, and stylistic study of Beach’s Violin Sonata. Chapter 1 presents biographical information of Beach. Chapter 2 introduces Beach’s violin and piano music and her major chamber music compositions. Chapter 3 provides historical reviews on the premiere performances of the Violin Sonata in the United States and Europe. Chapter 4 analyzes the Violin Sonata considering the following issues: formal structure, melodic and harmonic characteristics, the treatment of violin in combination with piano, and the idiomatic violin and piano writing. Chapter 5 is the conclusion. The catalog of Beach’s music and her "Music’s Ten Commandments As Given For Young Composers" is collected in the Appendices.

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