by Scott, Tim J

Abstract (Summary)
Volition is a single-movement work for large orchestra, spanning approximately ten minutes. The piece conveys the tumultuous mix of emotions one feels after a prolonged period of oppression. Having been pushed to the brink of despair, one’s feelings of inferiority are replaced by feelings of determination and malice. In that moment of volition, in which the oppressed decides to take whatever means necessary for redemption, this composition is born. Volition is through-composed, assembling sections based on ideas moving forward to arrival points. After a slow, quiet exposition of the piece’s overall melodic and harmonic material, episodes develop with forward motion that is at times interrupted. The piece gradually grows more violent, dark, and bold, culminating in the image of a great reckoning. A bleak afterthought concludes the composition, coming full circle to the texture of the beginning, though transformed. Primary melodic material is derived from the introduction’s phrases, with each providing a distinct pitch set. The overall harmonic progression is non-functional, derived intuitively from melodic pitch sets. The rhythmic language of the piece is crucial in communicating the emotional content of the work, thus rhythm plays an integral role in this composition. At times steady and pulsing, recurring polyrhythms are juxtaposed with regular downbeats. Some sections appear more random and frantic in their treatment of rhythms and percussive outbursts. Other sections are altogether free of rhythmic drive, instead focusing on the wandering melody. Carefully placed extended and contemporary techniques help portray the character of this composition. These include flutter tonguing and extreme registral placement in the woodwinds and brass, mutes in the brass and percussion, glissandi, snap pizzicato, and tremolo in the strings, and aleatoric passages. Various aspects of Volition’s form, texture, and orchestral color, were inspired by the music of Bela Bartok, Arnold Schoenberg, John Corigliano, and Elliot Goldenthal.
Bibliographical Information:


School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:01/01/2006

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