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Portfolio of Compositions and Technical Commentary

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy

The six pieces in this portfolio explore contemporary musical narratives as if approached from a traditional outlook. In these pieces many harmonic and rhythmic processes (modal, serial,‘post-serial’ and minimalist) that emerged in Post-War music, as well as their resulting forms or modes of continuity interact with a traditionally grounded, intuitive approach to 'thematicism'. Another important topic in this music is an engagement with certain formal elements and mannerisms of contemporary popular, rock and dance music, and the ethnic musical traditions of my cultural heritage. Writing for string instruments informed by the composer’s personal experience as a double bass performer is a central concern of the thesis.

Knife in the Water (for violin and cello) explores elements of heavy metal rhythms, Middle Eastern incantations, and free and strict meter.

Bonaparte Born to Party (for mixed quintet) builds on the jagged heavy metal and dance elements found in Knife in the Water, subjecting some of the harmonic structures of the latter to a fairly strict process of transformation while relying to a much greater extent!on repetition.

A Poem is a Burning City (for ten players) explores the possibility of creating a sort of'modality' by means of timbre as well as the 'transformation of sonority' itself as a means for delineating a binary form. While its harmonic language shares many aspects with the earlier pieces, here they are no longer the main concern of the music, which relies primarily on ‘colour', 'sonority' and extensive 'repetition' for the unfolding of a slowly evolving texture.

In the string quintet Everything is Amazing and Nobody is Happy, the Suite for solo violin and the Lullaby for double bass and orchestra, the type of explorations of colour and! sonority incipient in A Poem is a Burning City are extended and combined with the developmental processes and clear thematic and! melodic/harmonic!materials that characterise the earlier pieces.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
    Award date2015


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