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A Continuum Of Tonal Coherence: Pitch Organization In 'General William Booth Enters Into Heaven' By Charles Ives And 'Chiaroscuro' For Chamber Ensemble

Gillespie, Matthew Damien (2014) A Continuum Of Tonal Coherence: Pitch Organization In 'General William Booth Enters Into Heaven' By Charles Ives And 'Chiaroscuro' For Chamber Ensemble. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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The first part of this dissertation examines the pitch language of Charles Ives’ song General William Booth Enters into Heaven, a work in which tonal and atonal elements are frequently juxtaposed and combined. It is the author’s view that the music is neither tonal nor atonal, but rather that it lies on a continuum of tonal coherence, in which the sense of functional tonality appears and recedes. This continuum constitutes the actual pitch language of the work, rather than any traditional processes of tonal or atonal organization.

Chapter Two describes this continuum in general terms, identifying five types of music based upon the degree to which tonal elements audible. Chapter Three examines how Ives manipulates tonal elements such as dominants, certain melodic figures, and modulations, to create a sense of functional tonality, even when the music itself is not tonal. Chapter Four discusses how the composer employs elements typically associated with atonal music (atonal pitch-class sets, quartal and secundal harmony, and whole-tone or chromatic sets); it is shown that these elements were chosen so that they can easily combine with tonal elements, so that the continuum between tonality and atonality becomes seamless. Chapter Five examines Ives’ use of voice-leading to create formal links between tonal and atonal sections, allowing the work to retain formal coherence despite its surface contrasts.

The second part of the dissertation is ‘Chiaroscuro’, a work for eleven musicians. The title refers to the contrast between light and shadow which is explored in the piece. In a similar manner to the Ives song discussed in the first part of the paper, light and shadow represent opposite ends of a continuum, which is manipulated primarily through changes in texture, timbre, and harmony.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Gillespie, Matthew
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairWilliams, Amyamywill@pitt.eduAMYWILL
Committee MemberRosenblum, Mathewrosenblu@pitt.eduROSENBLU
Committee MemberCassaro, Jimcassaro@pitt.eduCASSARO
Committee MemberMelhem,
Date: 18 September 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 8 April 2014
Approval Date: 18 September 2014
Submission Date: 22 August 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 115
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Music
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Tonality, Atonality, Tonal Coherence, Voice-Leading, Charles Ives
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2014 14:24
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:23


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