Date of Graduation

5-2019

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Music

Advisor

Robert Mueller

Committee Member

Joon Park

Second Committee Member

Nastassja Riley

Keywords

Adoption, Cello, Composition, Flute, Piano, Soprano

Abstract

The inspiration for this set of pieces arose from a friendship with fellow grad student Morgen Cavanah. Morgen and I were both adopted as children, and it this common background that gave rise to these pieces. The poems chosen were written by Morgen about individuals or events in her life. Though I had planned to set 9 of the original 12 poems, this set is comprised of my four favorites. Each piece uses repetitive piano motives that underlie the melodic lines of the voice, flute, and cello. This choice explores harmonic and melodic possibilities that expand minimal accompaniment. Much of the harmonic language is flavored with jazz through the use of extended chords. To Eli, aims to expand the idea of a ballad. Morgen’s background in opera inspired me to recreate a recitative-like section where the piano acts as harmonic accompaniment for solo voice that is separated by flute and cello interludes. The original melodic material returns as the final cadence is extended in anticipation until the voice concludes the piece measures later. For Witt is a strophic waltz set in a minor mode, but conveying a message of hope. The central moment appears before the final verse, as the flute and cello perform stacattoo pulses in the set 3/4 meter while the vocal line and piano are syncopated to create a 4/4 feel. The third movement, Attn: Chase, is my favorite. It opens with waves as the piano arpeggiates two alternating chords that share 4 common tones: C-E-A-D. The idea of water continues as the voice imitates rain while singing “trickle down.” The piece ends with acapella voice repeating the last line of the poem. This was done to emphasize that we as humans can only do so much to fix or heal our issues, and our problems should be put into higher hands. Dear Joanna is the most light-hearted of the pieces. Inspired by Sufjan Stevens, I decided to use 7/8 time because of its whimsical nature and the unbalanced lilt that gives a strong momentum.

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