Title page for ETD etd-1106102-114007

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Couvillon, Thomas, Jr. Michael
Author's Email Address tcouvillon@yahoo.com
URN etd-1106102-114007
Title Text and Structure in Schoenberg's Op. 50, and an Original Composition, Symphony #1
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Music
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Dinos Constantinides Committee Chair
Jeffrey Perry Committee Member
Stephen Beck Committee Member
William Grimes Committee Member
Carl Freedman Dean's Representative
  • music analysis
  • twelve tone analysis
  • music theory
  • composition
  • de profundis
  • dreimal tausend jahre
  • choral music
  • modern psalm
Date of Defense 2002-09-20
Availability unrestricted
Part One of this document provides an analytical study of Schoenberg's final opus, Op. 50, three religious choral works written in the serial style: Driemal Tausend Jahre, Op. 50a (1949), De Profundis, Op. 50b (1950), and Modern Psalm, Op. 50c (1951). This study is divided into five chapters: an introduction, a conclusion, and a chapter of analysis for each of the three pieces. Analysis of these pieces reveals three significant conclusions: 1) Schoenberg consistently incorporates areas of relative consonance and pitch emphasis into his serial structures; 2) these areas of pitch emphasis, together with other musical devices are used to illuminate the text setting; and 3) the three works of Op. 50 represent a unified artistic endeavor on a par with Schoenberg's other large-scale religious works, die Jakobsleiter and Moses und Aron.

Part Two of this document is an original composition, Symphony #1, for orchestra with a vocal soloist (baritone). The work consists of four movements, which loosely follow the traditional symphonic model: Overture, Scherzo, Adagio, and Finale. In the tradition of Mahler, a vocal soloist is included in the final movement. The text for this movement is drawn from a Sara Teasdale poem "A Seagull in the City." The primary musical material for all four movements is drawn from two motivic sets (m2+m3) and (M2+m3). A non-literal or hidden program is used to generate elements of the overall form. Musical ideas drawn from the (m2+m3) set correspond to areas of greater tension in the program, while ideas drawn from the (M2+m3) set are used in places of lessening tension. Symphony #1 is generally lyrical in character and is scored for a medium sized orchestra (woodwinds-2/2/2/2, brass-4/3/3/1, percussion, and strings).

The two parts of this dissertation are unified by a common artistic heritage in the German Romantic tradition and also through such musical elements as the use of the (m2+m3) motivic set, which appeared frequently in the music of Schoenberg and his school.

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