Download Added-Tone Sonorities in the Choral Music of Eric Whitacre

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homophony within an individual ensemble but rarely between both ensembles. In total,
my study encompasses 1,102 measures (76.8%) of the 1,434 measures contained within
the eighteen pieces.97
For each of the passages above, I identified the vertical sonority present at every
individual moment, regardless of duration. In other words, my segmentation of the music
refrains from analytical interpretation as much as possible.98 Each segment lasts for
precisely as long as each combination of tones lasts, a segmentation which allows me to
deal with each sonority on its own terms before considering its connection to the
surrounding music. Lacking an understanding of Whitacre’s chordal vocabulary and
without a program such as Tonalities to aid in refining my guesses as to what constitutes
a chord in Whitacre’s music, I felt it prudent to consider all possibilities. Even if my
segmentation technique results in the categorization of simultaneities achieved by nonharmonic methods such as melodic ornamentation, I argue, the frequency of occurrence
of each type of sonority within the large sample of sonorities included in this study
should aid in identifying those harmonies which are merely coincidental.
There is, however, one exception to my otherwise strictly mechanical
segmentation. At times, Whitacre introduces a sonority using a method somewhat
analogous to the arpeggiation of a triad: a melody ascends and/or descends through the
pitches of the intended chord, and each pitch is retained in at least one voice after its
An estimate of 48 total measures for This Marriage has been used here and elsewhere in this thesis. The
estimate is derived from an approximation of four measures per line for each of the twelve lines in the
A further segmentation, which does involve interpretation, is defined in Chapter 4 and used consistently
in the analyses of Chapters 5-7 of this thesis.