Adult and Graduate Open House 2014
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23rd annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Learning January 20
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Art has been used as a way to inspire hope in people through times of crisis. The purpose of this project was to create a hope quilt. Students studying hope imagined what hope looked like and portrayed hope through a symbol or an image. Students were asked to think of a color that represented hope for them and then were asked to think of a symbol that represented hope for them. Students then designed the image that incorporated their color of hope and used different quilting techniques. Each piece was stitched together to create an enlarged quilted wall hanging. This project expands our understanding of hope by exploring the colors, images and symbols associated with hope.
In the late 16th century, the Florentine Camerata helped to create a style that became known as the seconda prattica. One characteristic of this style is the use of previously unacceptable dissonance for the sake of expressing the text. Today, one of the few places extremely dissonant music is accepted at the mainstream level is in film scores. In this presentation, I examine parallels between the use of dissonance in scores for horror and suspense films and in 16th-17th century madrigals, where composers experimented with dissonance to enhance text expressing painful emotion. I explore these parallels by discussing two madrigals, Cruda Amarilli by Claudio Monteverdi and Moro, Lasso by Carlo Gesualdo that use unprecedented dissonance, and then considering two modern examples of dissonant film scoring, Bernard Hermann’s music for the shower scene in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, and Stanley Kubrick’s use of György Ligeti’s Atmospheres in 2001: A Space Odyssey. All four examples involve dissonance to either illuminate the meaning of the text, or the action on the screen. These parallels show how extreme dissonance in music can gain widespread acceptance in film today through the same ideas used by the composers over 400 years ago.
Robert Fludd (1574-1637) was a physician, mathematician, astrologist, and cosmologist who conceived of the dea of the "Temple of Music as a visual aid to represent musical concepts when studying composition. In this presentation I incorporate the modern knowledge of the overtone series into Fludd's imaginary architectural structure. The "Temple of Music" does not include the concept of the overtone series which however was practically applied in the use of brass instruments. Before 1814, when musicians started using valves, brass instruments had to rely on the overtone series to produce notes. Thus, I argue that the "Temple of Music" should have included this concept, as it was vital for composers of the day to consider the overtone series in writing for brass players. The shape of the spiral would best represent the overtone series, since the distance between the available pitches becomes smaller as the notes get higher, in the same way that a logarithmic spiral in bigger at the opening and gets smaller in the center. Robert Fludd's drawing of the "Temple of Music" demonstrates a truly innovative method of studying composition, but the revision that I suggest in this presentation may aid in a better understanding of this Baroque compositional "toolbox."
The relationship between Franz Liszt's music and romantic literature is obvious. However, scholars have not given enough credit to Romantic poetry for influencing Liszt's life and compositional style. Lord Byron's Childe Harold's Pilgrimage not only served as the subject for several of Liszt's compositions, but also influenced him to embark upon his own pilgrimage, alter his artistic priorities, and recast himself as a poet composer rather than a virtuoso pianist. Examining his Années de Pèlerinage in the context of his compositional output, I explore the influence that Byron's epic poem had on his compositional style. When Liszt was working on his Années de Pèlerinage, he experimented harmonically, streamlined his pianistic idiom, and perfected the art of thematic transformation that would be a staple of his later compositions. This project reveals the importance of these works within Liszt's output, as well as the deeper relationship between Romantic poetry and Liszt's life and compositional style.
Within the last 100 years, the ride cymbal has developed into one of the most important instruments for timekeeping on the drum set, and is a primary stylistic component of jazz drumming. While this concept is important for drum set players to understand, it is also beneficial knowledge for other musicians, especially those who regularly perform in styles where drum set is present. Patterns played on the ride cymbal have helped to shape music around the world, and aspiring musicians need to understand the forces behind the music they love, and how and why these forces came into existence.
Throughout the 16th-18th centuries castrati achieved great popularity and were essential element to the musical culture. Presently, pre-adolescent and high-pitched adult male voices have also been playing a prominent role in popular music and culture. Thus, the two different types of performers are linked through time by the phenomenon of sexual ambiguity. This presentation explores the similarities between castrati and recent pre-adolescent vocalists, and the reasons for audiences’ thirst for them. Castrati were male vocalists whose voice change was artificially manipulated by castrating boys who have not yet reached adolescence. The sound that castrati produced incorporated the strength of a male voice and the range of a female voice. Castrati created an aura of sexual ambiguity by the combination of the voice and the feminized appearance. This baroque era phenomenon can be compared with popularity of Justin Beiber and Michael Jackson among other contemporary artists. Many boys-performers lose popularity after puberty and are quickly replaced by another preadolescent boy, their names forgotten. The most recent of example is Justin Beiber, whose voice is currently in the process of changing. In rare cases, such as Michael Jackson’s, continued popularity is a product of carefully maintained sexually ambiguous voice and appearance.
The triangle is one of the most used musical instruments within the percussion family; its function and timbre have proven to be highlighted within numerous works. However, the diversity within its structure and approach has helped provide this instrument with unimaginable options. First introduced in the 10th century, the triangle (a descendent of the U-shaped sistrum) has gone through several changes, ranging from shape to additives, such as small rings through the base for altering timbres. With its evolution through production came its evolution through practice; beaters and suspensions have both advanced the natural sounds of the triangle, and helped remove otherwise unwanted overtones. There are various producers of triangles, and with each brand comes a different timbral component that is aurally identifiable. These issues have helped to confuse otherwise knowledgeable musicians. This study helps to expand one’s musical knowledge and independence when choosing the right instrument for performance.
Many music historians discuss the practical significance of Guido of Arezzo’s theoretic “hand,” a mnemonic device that helped singers learn plainchant using the late-10th/early-11th century solmization system. However, few have thought to relate this device to the common practice of palmistry, an analytic summation of one’s life through examination of their palm. Palmistry has been practiced as far back as the 4th century B.C.E. It has since developed a more simplistic structure, and basic points of relation for the reader have become identifiable, thanks to technological advancement and publicity. The comparison shows that both Guidonian Hand and palm-reading contain certain qualities that in their isolation seem unrelated, yet the correlation becomes evident when linking modal shifts within solmization system as represented by Guidonian Hand with palmistry’s ties to people’s emotional states. This unorthodox comparison helps create a better understanding of the mythology and practice of palmistry, while being compared to the musical structure of the Guidonian Hand.
Although the term “linear drumming” has only recently been coined, the concept of playing different sound sources at separate times has been around since the invention of the drum set over one hundred years ago. The purpose of this presentation is threefold: to understand linear drumming in a broad sense, to understand how it has developed from a stylistic perspective in jazz, rock and funk, and how it has been codified and analyzed from a pedagogical perspective. Through the analysis of drummers from Baby Dodds to Steve Gadd, I demonstrate that linear playing has developed from a melodic/soloistic approach to the time keeping approach that is normally associated with the term. By gaining a perspective of concepts associated with linear drumming, one also gains a better understanding of the development of styles and history of the drum set.
The music of Eric Whitacre has won the choral world over, but has only begun to be examined by music theorists. A recent post in the online blog “Chamber Music Today,” made the observation that in Whitacre’s piece, Lux Arumque, there are many moments of dissonance that have combination tones, or phantom tones that can be heard below as a result of higher pitches being sung or played perfectly in tune. These are also known as Tartini tones after the 18th century theorist, Giuseppe Tartini. This presentation explores combination tones, which is the sum or difference of two perfectly tuned pitches played or sung simultaneously. Scientists originally speculated that this phenomenon happened inside of the ear, but with more recent experiments, they now believe it to be a neural phenomenon. Also, I searched the score of Lux Arumque, as well as other Whitacre pieces, and found several instances where a Tartini tone should be present. This raises the question of whether these Tartini tones are there incidentally due to Whitacre’s writing style, or if Whitacre used the dissonances purposefully to create the combination tones. This helps musicians explain why Whitacre’s music is very beautiful, touching, and unique.
Research has shown that having hope enables the individual to successfully deal with the inevitable challenges encountered in life. Hope may allow us to have a clear sense of what our potential is and how we can make things better. Hopeful individuals feel that they have an important role to play in their family, community and world. By creating a "toy with purpose", I aim to highlight that children can develop an understanding of hope through the creative process of play. To that end, I used fabric to make a wall-hanging with various pieces that can be detached and reattached in a way that encourages children to develop self-awareness and to explore the notion of hope. This project extends our understanding of hope by examining hope through child's play.
When a singer is preparing to perform an art song, he or she must go through a detailed analysis of the melody, rhythms, harmonic structure, and text. Each of these components, functioning concurrently, contributes to the overall character of the piece, expressing a composer’s intention. Additionally, when an art song is being performed, the poet’s text, the composer’s setting of the text, and the performer’s interpretation all contribute to the experience of an art song by a listener. This presentation focuses on Lee Hoiby’s and Aaron Copland’s work with the poetry of Emily Dickinson, specifically, her poem “There Came a Wind like a Bugle.” I discuss the two settings of this poem in order to demonstrate how composers have striven to incorporate the poet’s intent. Through close analysis of Hoiby’s and Copland’s settings and examinations of composers’ statements, I draw a correlation between Emily Dickinson’s “unique personality” and the composers’ approach to setting her poetry. The poet’s intent as well as the composer’s intent must be considered by the performer in order to give a performance that transcends a simple reading of notes in a score.
Hope can mean different things to different people. Because hope is associated with creative process, I created a visual piece of artwork that allowed me to explore hope in the various contexts of my life and to develop a sense of personal awareness and self-knowing. I took 24 photographs of objects that describe hope to me and make me hopeful. I then developed a book from those photographs which I entitled "Figures of Hope." This visual depiction of my personal definition of hope has given me a deeper understanding myself. The process of sharing explorations of hope has a two-fold outcome: (1) to enhance my personal hope through self-explorations, and (2) to foster others’ hope by sharing these explorations with others. This work can empower others to be more conscious and self-reflective.
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