Thesis

Influences : ballet music for stage band

Influences is ballet music in conception, but is without a specific story and stage directions. The formal design of this work allows the performers to choose the manner of performance. They may select a story to suit the music, dance without a story, or present the music as a concert piece. The instruments here are treated as characters both singly and in groups, the electric guitar being the main character. The guitar evolves from the role of follower to that of leader in the later portions of the piece. As leader, the guitar brings the other instruments a quarter step higher in pitch, after which they all play the main theme in unison, a theme made up of parts of all previous material. The end of the piece is the beginning for a new main character, the muted trumpet. This work attempts to use material idiomatic to current "popular" music in a musically artistic style with aesthetic validity. The instrumentation, some rhythmic patterns, scales, and intervallic constructions used are based on the "popular". idiom, while the treatment of these and other materials is more artfully rooted in polymetricity, atonality, and some rather free serialization. Aleatoric passages and free improvisation found in both "popular" and "art" music form an integral part of this composition. While there is no attempt to completely stylize the more commonplace elements, the effort to communicate on an artistic level remains the primary purpose for this ballet.

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