Title page for ETD etd-07092007-154138

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Phillips, Rebecca L.
URN etd-07092007-154138
Title John Mackey: The Composer, His Compositional Style and a Conductor's Analysis of Redline Tango and Turbine
Degree Doctor of Musical Arts (D.M.A.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Frank B. Wickes Committee Chair
Evelyn K. Orman Committee Member
James Byo Committee Member
Sara Lynn Baird Committee Member
Janice Hinson Dean's Representative
  • American composer
  • Breakdown Tango
  • commission
  • MIDI
  • ostinato
  • rehearsal analysis
  • wind conducting
  • structural analysis
Date of Defense 2007-06-19
Availability unrestricted
The purpose of this monograph is to present the first formal analysis of John Mackey and his music. Through substantive firsthand interaction with the composer, this document details Mackey’s unique compositional development through computer-based learning and includes a conductor’s analysis of Redline Tango and Turbine. Mackey’s compositional style includes simplistic forms using melodies and harmonies that do not readily demonstrate the difficulties conductors and performers may find within his well-crafted compositions. Mackey’s work emphasizes the element of rhythm and his orchestration typically utilizes the conventional instrumentation for wind ensemble with prominence placed on percussion. Redline Tango has been awarded two significant band awards and has received international performances. Turbine is unique in comparison to Mackey’s earlier works, relying even less on melodic material and more on rhythmic complexity for its content, establishing it as Mackey’s most rhythmically complicated band work to date. A distinctive characteristic of Turbine is Mackey’s percussion scoring, which includes the use of non-traditional percussion instruments and may cause conductors to consider alternative score preparation and rehearsal techniques. Both Redline Tango and Turbine display balance in form between repetition and contrast, consistency and originality in style, a creative design that exhibits craftsmanship and unique rhythmic vitality. Although technically demanding, conductors and performers should find rehearsals and performances of both pieces to be enjoyable. To be assured, audiences continue to be captivated by Mackey’s distinctive compositional style, unique rhythmic creativity and imaginative percussion scoring.
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