Music Theses and Dissertations

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    (2023) Kostadinov, Alexander; Sloan, Rita; Music; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Virtuosity is defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “great technical skill” and virtuosity in music continues to be a constant source of discussion for musicians. What value do virtuosic elements have in late Romantic music, particularly those featuring the piano, a virtuoso-friendly instrument? Do these elements enhance the overall musical impact of the repertoire and if so, how? Does it make a difference if the work is a solo piano work, piano chamber music or music for voice and piano? These are the questions that I will explore in this performance dissertation. Each of my three recitals will feature one of these three iconic Romantic composers: Tchaikovsky, Brahms, and Rachmaninoff. Included will be a piano concerto, two piano trios, a piano quartet, and three sets of piano/vocal works, all significant in the solo and collaborative pianist’s repertoire.By the mid-nineteenth century, pianist Franz Liszt and violinist Nicolo Paganini had paved the way to a new age of instrumental technical virtuosity. Along with expanding the possibilities of what instrumentalists could do, virtuosic elements in music have even influenced the very setting of music performance. As chamber repertoire started expanding and becoming increasingly challenging in the late-nineteenth century, chamber music performances shifted from more casual, at-home venues, to being performed in some of the larger and most prestigious concert halls. Chamber music historically had been simpler, often meant for performance at home by amateurs. This began to change with the quartets of Beethoven, especially the late quartets and certainly the Brahms’ G minor piano quartet was not composed to be played on an upright piano in someone’s living room. First of all, the performance of a forty five-minute complex chamber music work for four musicians is in itself a virtuoso accomplishment! Throughout the quartet, Brahms displays his mastery of counterpoint and thematic development, as well as his ability to balance individual instruments and create a cohesive ensemble sound. The use of virtuosic elements in the piano part adds to the complexity and richness of the work. As instrumentalists continued to become more virtuosic, composers continued creating more challenging works for them throughout the nineteenth century. Brahms, Rachmaninov, and Tchaikovsky wrote some of the most technically difficult music of the time. Since Brahms and Rachmaninov were both famous pianists and understood the capabilities of the piano, their compositions further challenged musicians. Tchaikovsky’s compositions demonstrated many technical challenges as well, as they were often composed in the style of Anton Rubinstein, who was one the greatest pianists of the time, praised for his musicianship and technical abilities. The vocal works which are included in these recitals (the four romances by Tchaikovsky, the vocal set Op. 38 by Rachmaninoff and the Brahms Zigeunerlieder) were chosen to demonstrate how these composers transitioned from writing accompanimentally to more expanded and technically demanding piano parts. Through these programs, I hope to demonstrate the variety and value of the virtuoso elements in these Romantic masterpieces and how this contributes to making mesmerizing and meaningful masterworks which continue to attract audiences today. Additionally, I will be performing music which speaks to me in a very direct and immediate way and which I hope will then speak equally significantly to the listener as well. This dissertation and recordings can be accessed in the Digital Repository (DRUM) at the University of Maryland.
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    "These Songs will Save our Language": Reclaiming Kiowa Language and Music through Kiowa Sound Resurgence
    (2023) Yamane, Maxwell Hiroshi; Rios, Fernando; Music; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines the intersection of Indigenous language reclamation and music, primarily among the Kiowa Tribe. Through multi-sited ethnographic fieldwork, interviews, music/language analysis, and participatory action research, I show how music plays a key role in the resurgence of Kiowa language and identity. I begin in Washington, D.C. by revealing how Kiowas (and other Indigenous Peoples) strategically use their own modes of storytelling and music making to resist the imposition of settler colonial narratives. Indigenous performers reclaim stories about their language initiatives and challenge problematic congressional language planning and policy. The dissertation then moves towards Oklahoma and examines the language efforts of a community-based institution: the Kiowa Language and Culture Revitalization Program (KLCRP). I show how KLCRP used Kiowa Christian hymns—which are performed in the Kiowa language and musical style— as a pedagogical approach to revive and strengthen forms of Kiowa sound and audibility, including speech, music making, storytelling, and listening. I frame the recovery of these practices as Kiowa sound resurgence. I explore the multiple ways in which Kiowas engaged in Kiowa sound resurgence through traditional and non-traditional pedagogies before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. This dissertation contributes to interdisciplinary dialogues in ethnomusicology, Native American and Indigenous studies, and linguistic anthropology on Indigenous language reclamation and music scholarship. The case study of Kiowa sound resurgence illuminates how Kiowas creatively reclaim, revive, and resurge sound through Kiowa ways of knowing, doing, and being. The findings of this dissertation have relevance to both academia and Indigenous communities who are actively engaging in efforts of cultural reclamation and resurgence.
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    (2023) Choi, Hyun J; Kutz, Eric; Music; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This dissertation examines five cello compositions written during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries by women composers, whose works have been largely forgotten in the cello literature until recent times. The works surveyed are Three Pieces for Cello and Piano by Nadia Boulanger; Sonatas for Cello and Piano by Luise Adolpha Le Beau, Henriëtte Bosmans, and Dora Pejačević; and Sonate Dramatique: Titus et Bérénice for Cello and Piano by Rita Strohl. Though far from being comprehensive, this paper aims to serve as a point of reference in providing an overview of the musical contents in each work as well as biographical and historical information on the composers and their works. For the two cello compositions whose published copy is not easily accessible in the United States (Dora Pejačevic’s Sonata for Cello and Piano and Rita Strohl’s Sonate Dramatique: Titus and Bérenice), the publisher information and the place of contact for access to the sheet music are included in the introduction section.
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    (2023) Adams-Park, Jihong; Sloan, Rita; Music; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In the early twentieth century, there was a surge in the number of compositions written in America for woodwind and piano duos. This was a result of the demand for compositions to be written in a neoclassical style. Neoclassical style not only played a critical role in the proliferation of the American duo genre for woodwinds and piano but also facilitated the saxophone’s move into the musical mainstream as a classical concert instrument. This compositional spike in duo creation is also a result of twentieth-century musical eclecticism and should be taken as an important element in the development of American music. Influences such as modernism, folk idioms, jazz and popular music were adopted and fused with classical structures to make duo compositions more accessible to contemporary audiences. The popularity of this duo genre among American composers has been relatively steady and likely will continue to grow. Duo music for woodwinds and piano is accessible for audiences, and it is efficient for collaborations in chamber performance settings.Three recitals were prepared and presented respectively on February 28, 2022, at Gildenhorn Recital Hall of the University of Maryland, November 12, 2022, and January 21, 2023, at the Sunshine Cathedral Church in Fort Lauderdale. The first recital featured duo compositions that use innovative melodic, rhythmic, and harmonic integration between the flute and the piano. The works performed were Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op. 14 by Robert Muczynski (1961), Sonata for Flute and Piano, Op.23 by Lowell Liebermann (1987), Sonata for Flute and Piano by Samuel Zyman (1997), Canzone by Samuel Barber (1961), Night Soliloquy by Kent Kennan (1936), and Vocalise for Flute and Piano by Aaron Copland (1971). The second recital featured compositions for saxophone and piano: Sonata for E-flat Alto Saxophone and Piano by Paul Creston (1945), Picnic on the Marne by Ned Rorem (1983), Duo for Alto Saxophone and Piano by Walter Hartley (1964), Dittico for E-flat Alto Saxophone and Piano by Halsey Stevens (1972), and Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano by John Worley (1975). The contrast among these compositions highlighted the major compositional styles from pre-1960 post-romantic to post-1960 contemporary style. The final lecture recital presented duo compositions with jazz influences composed in the mid- and late-1900s: Sonata for Clarinet and Piano No.2 by Gary Schocker (1999), Introduction and Allegro for Oboe and Piano by Alvin Etler (1952), Sonata for Alto Saxophone and Piano, Op.29 by Robert Muczynski (1970), Sonata for Clarinet and Piano by Leonard Bernstein (1941), and Quiet and Easy from Deep Ellum Nights by Simon Sargon (1991). Recordings can be accessed in the Digital Repository (DRUM) at the University of Maryland.
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    Telling the Whole Story: A Mixed Methods Process Evaluation of Middle School General Music Curriculum Reform
    (2023) Wright, Bri'Ann F; Prichard, Stephanie F; Music; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    This study is a mixed methods process evaluation of a middle school music curriculum reform in a large, Mid-Atlantic school district. The purpose of this study was to explore East Highland Public School District’s (a pseudonym), reform and implementation process of their seventh and eighth grade general music curricula. I constructed an understanding of the nature of the curricular reform, including structural circumstances that led to the change, the writing process and pilot phase, and enactment across the district. Further, I sought to investigate teacher perceptions of agency and conceptions of their teaching alignment with the new curriculum documents. Research questions guiding the study addressed the nature of the EHPSD curriculum reform, enactment process, and teacher perceptions. I framed this study through the theory of ecological teacher agency, which views agency as action with intention and emergent within the unique structures surrounding the individual. Data sources included old and new curricular documents, interviews with the EHPSD music supervisor and several teachers who were central to the writing process, and a questionnaire—Music Teacher Professional Agency Survey (MTPAS)—administered to all middle school general music teachers in the district. I approached data analysis using a multifaceted approach informed by scholarly recommendations for mixed methods process evaluation. First, I completed a thorough document analysis of the new general music curriculum—General Music I and General Music II (GMI and GMII). Next, I conducted interviews with the EHPSD music supervisor and three of the main curriculum writers. Finally, the quantitative strand of the study, included administering and analyzing data from the MTPAS where I sought to understand teachers’ perceptions of agency and conceptions of their teaching alignment with the written curriculum. I then formulated a theory of action, based mostly from the interview data with the music supervisor, to “test” the efficacy of the implementation process and uncover the underlying assumptions inherent in the enactment process. I mixed my qualitative and quantitative data strands by creating a data convergence matrix. Results indicated that based on the theory of action, the reform of EHPSD’s new middle school general music curriculum was carried out with relative fidelity. Instigated by a board-approved visual arts schedule change and overseen by EHPSD’s music supervisor, the reform process included curriculum design and writing time, a pilot program, and full implementation for both GMI and GMII. Through document analysis and exploration of interview data, I identified that the contents and processes included in GMI and GMII reflected progressive middle school general music values and curricula design. Survey results indicated positive perceptions of teacher agency and positive conceptions of pedagogical alignment with the document. In mixed methods analysis, several themes overlapped between interviews and survey responses.Findings from this study point toward the need for localized reform efforts that leverage teachers as instigators of reform design and enactment, in both program design and also in program and policy evaluation. Additionally, process and full impact evaluation work is important to music education to uncover curricular instruction, content, and teaching strategies that work in the pk-12 and higher education music classrooms.