Counterpoint for flute, clarinet, and cello

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Date
2012
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University of Alabama Libraries
Abstract

Counterpoint for flute, clarinet, and cello uses imitative contrapuntal procedures to express, expand, and resolve a conflict between set classes (013) and (014). The pitches (and sometimes rhythms) of a primary melodic idea are imitated, moving among voices at various levels of transposition and interrupted by episodic sections derived from fragments of the original melody. The main theme expands from an initial semitone into a melody centered around (013)-henceforth S(013), where S stands for "subject"-with a focus on maintaining adjacencies that create (013) set classes, creating short trichordal chains. Upcoming sections that center around (014) are foreshadowed by a single melodic (014) at the end of the subject. Two countersubjects are composed to accompany the main theme. The first countersubject, CS(013), functions as both a horizontal and a vertical entity; the second countersubject, CS2(013), is subordinate and serves to complete sonorities while maintaining a pleasant melodic contour. The subject and countersubjects are modified to create lines and verticalities focused on (014), henceforth referred to as S(014), CS(014), and CS2(014). The piece passes through various transpositions of the generative material, the levels of which are derived from the original subject in order to create large-scale relationships, as seen in the formal diagram below. Rhythms are controlled carefully but not strictly. Vertical alignment among voices is generally predetermined, but variations in absolute duration are possible and provide a source of interest. Episodic sections are derived by fragmenting materials introduced earlier in the piece. Counterpoint for flute, clarinet, and cello concludes with a condensed restatement of the entire piece. Arpeggiated (013)s and (014)s pass among the instruments in every order and level of transposition previously used by entries of the subject and countersubjects. Finally, the original melody is restated, its final note harmonized by every pair of pitch classes that can be combined with it to create an (013) or an (014) trichord. This melody is fragmented as it passes through each voice, and the piece closes, resolving the conflict to a final (013).

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Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
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Music
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