Toward a Method for Performance Analysis of Twentieth-Century Music

by Egge, Mark N

Abstract (Summary)
This document discusses the benefits of performance analysis in general and the need for a method for performance analysis of twentieth-century music. To help satisfy this need, it presents analytical techniques that aid performers in segmenting post-tonal music on multiple hierarchical levels as well as determining the intensity shapes (the increases and decreases of intensity) of the segments at all levels. The document begins in chapter 1 with a discussion of reasons and goals for performance analysis, which include aiding a performer in the creation of an interpretation that is logical, coherent, and personal. Performance analysis can also aid memorization as well as provide the performer with a greater ability to speak clearly about music. The second chapter is a discussion of the techniques used in selected performance analyses of twentieth-century music. The articles range from highly performance-oriented to highly theory-oriented (and everything in between). Both the merits and the shortcomings of the articles are discussed. The third chapter presents the method, which includes techniques and guidelines for segmentation on a number of hierarchical levels (phrases, phrase groups, subsections, sections), determination of intensity shapes within each of those segments, and graphic representation of the results of these analyses. The segmentation technique relies heavily on the grouping preference rules established by Fred Lerdahl and Ray Jackendoff in their book, A Generative Theory of Tonal Music. The determination of intensity is loosely based on the concepts of progression and regression put forth by Wallace Berry in his book Structural Functions in Music. For the purposes of illustration, in chapter 4 the method is applied to Charles Wuorinen’s Divertimento for alto saxophone and piano. (An appendix including the analytical results in graphic form is located at the end of the document.) The chapter focuses on points in the composition that illustrate aspects of the method put forth in the previous chapter. Following chapter 4 is chapter 5, which presents a conclusion and suggestions for further research.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:performance analysis twentieth century music saxophone literature divertimento for alto and piano by charles wuorinen


Date of Publication:01/01/2005

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