Title page for ETD etd-10202009-111745

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Arguello, Alejandro José
URN etd-10202009-111745
Title Latin Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra and Magical Realism in Alejandro Cardona's String Quartet No. 4
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Constantinides, Dinos Committee Chair
Beck, Stephen David Committee Co-Chair
Grimes, William Committee Member
Smyth, David Committee Member
Kornhauser, Mari Dean's Representative
  • tambito
  • magical realism
Date of Defense 2009-10-05
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation is in two parts. The first one is an original composition, Latin Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra. The second is a musical analysis, Magical Realism in Alejandro Cardona’s String Quartet No. 4.

Latin Rhapsody for Clarinet and Orchestra uses Costa Rican ideas combined with classical contemporary sonorities, such as clusters and small pitch-class sets. The first movement, Tambito, is based on a Latin American dance rhythm in six-eight meter. The name of this dance is particular to Costa Rica, but it is a widely used rhythmic pattern used in other Latin American countries under other names. This movement is fast and explosive, showing off the technical versatility of the clarinet. Its form is through composed using different variants from the main theme.

The second movement is called La Fortuna at Night, describing a place in the countryside in Costa Rica where I used to go when I was a child. A lyrical clarinet melody is accompanied by transparent sonorities. The form of the movement is A-B-A1, where B serves as an interlude to the melody of the soloist.

The third movement, Carnival, is based on the annual carnival from the province of Limón, mainly influenced by black culture. A catchy and playful melody is presented in the clarinet, serving as the developing material throughout. The timbales (a traditional Afro-Caribbean instrument) set the carnival mood. Sonorities from the previous movements are combined with the main theme to create overall unity.

The novel Pedro Páramo by the Mexican writer Juan Rulfo (1917-1986) inspired the composition of the String Quartet No. 4. Every section in the quartet is marked by a quotation from the book. My analysis involves the following stages: First, I discuss

Cardona’s musical approach to the style of the novel, called magical realism. Through the analysis of the main themes and sonorities used in the quartet, I relate the worlds of music and literature. Second, I talk about the harmonic highlights in the work and explain how they create overall unity throughout.

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