Theses and Dissertations - UTB/UTPA
Date of Award
Master of Music (MMUS)
Dr. Brendan Kinsella
Dr. Justin Writer
Dr. Virginia Davis
This thesis examines the compositional strategies Rzewski applies to affect his audience’s expectations so that the experience of the work parallels the political and philosophical ideas within it. Employing musical narrative theory as a way to characterize the process of expectation that can guide the perception of musical meaning, I explore how Rzewski’s pieces support or reject interpretation through a musical dramatic trajectory in ways that reflect the concepts behind the work to argue that: 1) Rzewski’s early variation works follow a linear narrative whose sequence of musical transvaluation conveys dynamics of socio-political problems and suggest solutions through collective action; 2) Rzewski’s improvisational compositions frustrate the development of expectations in an anti-narrative form paralleling his interest in the discontinuity hidden behind surface perception of reality; and 3) Rzewski’s nonlinear narrative Iraq War variation pieces combine continuity and interruption to merge his anti-teleological perspective on life with war.
University of Texas-Pan American
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