The guitar has developed over the past four centuries. The six-course or six-string guitar was created at the end of the eighteenth century and was the first instrument that looked like a modern guitar. It gained a new life in twentieth-century North America with the invention of amplification and its use in jazz and blues. By the end of the 1900s, the guitar was one of the most popular instruments in the world. Jazz and blues became two of the most unique American styles of music and are cornerstones of American culture today. This essay outlines the roots of jazz, blues, and the electric guitar. It then examines and analyzes the lives and compositions of three blues guitarists, two jazz guitarists, and one contemporary guitarist. This background and analysis provides a context for my recital.
This paper examines the portrayal of women in various forms of vocal music from the 1600s to the 1980s. Analyzing the lyrics and poetry in these different pieces provides an understanding of how females are often portrayed in male-dominated and influenced compositions. This paper is divided into five sections. It begins with an overview of how women have been seen in society and in a musical context throughout history. The next three sections discuss the representation of woman in opera arias, art songs, and musical theatre pieces ranging from the late 1600s until the late 1900s. These various pieces, considered alongside the observations of notable musicologists, reveal a variety of representations of women in vocal music since the seventeenth century. Ultimately, the lack of female composers and lyricists has played a large role in this detrimental depiction of females. Male composers have depicted women in music as abusing their power, being fanciful and romantically naïve, or incapable of independence. It is not until the introduction of musical theatre that there began to be a celebration of female strength and self-determination, although, here too, female representation has limits.
The use of elements of music from other cultures has a long and colorful history in the Western tradition. A central question in understanding this kind of music involves how and why Western composers choose to evoke “the Other” through composition. This paper surveys the many ways composers evoke the other through the standard repertoire. An exploration of composers’ intentions and stylistic resources reveals the cultural importance of exotic music in different time periods and demonstrates how the function of music varies due to political and social pressures. This paper traces connections between formal devices in music and the composer’s intent when writing, which in turn suggests how the musical evocation of the other serves varying cultural needs based on the thought paradigms of artists in particular historical eras.
For my capstone project, I have set four poems by Shel Silverstein to music for children. This project combines two areas of study, music composition and music education. Raising the standard for music education in America is a strong personal interest, and my overall goal is to compose educational as well as entertaining music for young children. Each song is interactive in some way, and has been recorded with the help of both professional musicians and young children. This paper describes how I created the project, from composing the songs to learning musical pedagogy. The paper is presented in five sections. The first section introduces general music education for young children, followed by a biography of Shel Silverstein and analyses of the four poems I selected. The third section discusses children’s albums, while the fourth section describes the composition and recording process I underwent during this project. A conclusion section revisits the objectives of my project as well as summarizes my experiences during this time.
This thesis examines the psychological effects of TaKeTiNa, a practice that incorporates music and movement in a group setting. TaKeTiNa is non-religious yet traditionally based, and involves the complex layering of rhythms in order to benefit the mind and body of the participant. Health benefits include increased heart rate variability, brain synchronization, and decreased pain; further psychological benefits have been noted in patients with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses, though research has not been conducted in this area. This paper discusses the practice and principles of TaKeTiNa, and the psychological healing of one TaKeTiNa instructor who overcame challenges of posttraumatic stress disorder through the rhythmic process. For this research, ethnographic data was collected and interpreted alongside secondary sources. The TaKeTiNa process allowed the instructor to experience psychological healing through the rediscovery of forgotten emotions and re-integration with society. Similar findings have been reported in veterans and addicts who participate in group drumming therapy. Through its rhythmic complexity and movement aspects, TaKeTiNa also provides significant physical benefits that allow for a more holistic healing process. By examining such a practice in detail, more can be understood about music as a psychological healing tool, and further connections can be made between traditional musical healing practices and modern medicine.
My recital consists of an assortment of romantic art songs from the European concert tradition. These art songs cover many musical and emotional treatments of love, while all are confined to the masculine hetero-normative perspective on romantic love. My purpose is to demonstrate that, more than just entertainment, these songs are cultural artifacts through which one can discover past musical and social paradigms. The recital is sectioned by language and location which serves to illuminate the specific movements and characteristics of different areas of western culture. Accordingly, this paper provides a brief background and description of terms before examining each of the composers and pieces.