Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Symmetry and Narrative in Christopher Rouse's Trombone Concerto with white space waiting (an original composition for chamber orchestra)

Reiter, R.Burkhardt (2005) Symmetry and Narrative in Christopher Rouse's Trombone Concerto with white space waiting (an original composition for chamber orchestra). Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Primary Text

Download (9MB) | Preview


The analytic component of my dissertation, "Symmetry and Narrative in Christopher Rouse's Trombone Concerto," illuminates the ways in which the concerto creates a musical metaphor of tragedy. To help frame my discussion of the Trombone Concerto's narrative elements (which include Rouse's self-referential quotation to his own Symphony No.1 and a quotation of Leonard Bernstein's "Kaddish" Symphony No.3) I draw on Northrop Frye's classification of tragedy as a narrative archetype. In order to illuminate the narrative functions of the two quotations and other motivic elements, I examine (with voice-leading and structural analysis) how the work's prevailing formal and harmonic symmetry provides the narrative context for its musical expectations. The tragedy of the concerto is realized when the harmonic expectation created by the Bernstein quotation is disrupted by the return of the composition's opening harmony and motivic gesture. Fulfilling the compositional requirements, I submit my 2002 work white space waiting. It is a slow, at times lyric, elegy for chamber orchestra. The harmonic and motivic focus of the piece revolves around five distinct pitches: C, C#, E, F#, and B. These pitches do not occur as a specific leit-motif, but they do recur at important moments (in various guises and orderings) as the composition unfolds. Because white space waiting has large structural repetitions, a key compositional element to the piece is the way in which the order of repetition among different sections becomes varied. By analogy, a three-part form (which this composition is not) might have the following structural rules: once ABC is presented as a particular order of events, A does not always lead to B and C can sometimes precede A in subsequent repetitions. Likewise, for white space waiting, a particular material that serves as the beginning of one section may appear as the ending of another section or as a section unto itself.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMoe, Ericemoe@pitt.eduEMOE
Committee MemberLooney, Dennislooney@pitt.eduLOONEY
Committee MemberFranklin, Dondof@pitt.eduDOF
Committee MemberRosenblum, Mathewrosenblu@pitt.eduROSENBLU
Date: 10 October 2005
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 15 April 2005
Approval Date: 10 October 2005
Submission Date: 21 April 2005
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
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: 20th century; Bernstein; Burkhardt; dramatic structure; music composition; music theory; Rouse; tragic music
Other ID:, etd-04212005-084813
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:41


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item