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Title: Towards a new aesthetic in contemporary instrumental ensemble, vocal and chamber opera composition
Authors: Thompson, Shirley J
Advisors: Wiegold, P
Barrett, R
Keywords: Orchestral new music;Post colonial concepts;Trans atlantic trade in enslaved persons;Spoken word artistry;Popular music performance
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Brunel University
Abstract: This submission for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy focuses on works for large instrumental ensemble in conjunction with the voice. Instrumental ensemble and vocal mediums such as the orchestral art song, the song cycle and the opera in one act, provide platforms to explore the expressiveness of the lyrical dramatic voice and the dialectic tension between composing for the solo voice with a range of instrumental ensemble forces. The portfolio of compositions includes the orchestral song, The Woman Who Refused to Dance; the orchestral song trilogy, Spirit Songs; and the opera in one act, Queen Nanny of the Maroons. Issues of composition technique, vocal expression and operatic narrative are examined and in addition the three named works explore notions of post-colonial heroic representation of subjects that might not usually attract ideological recognition in Western European art music contexts. Methods for developing inclusive, post-modern musical language for the mixed instrumental and vocal ensemble are explored; including the employment of spoken word expression and the integration of popular music idioms within contemporary Western European art music contexts. In the writing of lyrics for the songs and libretto for the opera, increased responsibility is assumed in the completion of vocal works in addition to musical consideration to find the effects on the works when the roles of composer and writer are combined. With the opera in one act for solo voice, forming the major contribution to the portfolio, critical components that lead to effective music drama are assessed.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy and awarded by Brunel University.
Appears in Collections:Music
Dept of Arts and Humanities Theses

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