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Compositional Techniques that Portray Characters, Ideas, or Emotions in Oboe and English Horn Repertoire

Thayer, Kathryn
Using music to portray an idea or reflect on an emotion or character is a long-standing idea. An individual is capable of recognizing these qualities, even without being classically trained in music. In a movie, certain musical styles and techniques may predict ominous events. We have heard music that makes us feel sad; or happy. We all have a reason why certain artists or songs appeal to us, while others may not. Similarly, composers can portray a topic through instrumental music without the picture or scene to accompany it. Composers will different techniques, such as to fit a preconceived story, character, idea, or emotion, when creating their works. They can also compose to fit something from their own mindset. Performers are tasked with the interpretation of this music. They must not only bring out the composer’s intent, but add their own interpretation to fill in the gaps. The performer must bring what the composer heard or felt into the minds and hearts of the audience. This thesis will explore how various composers portray characters, ideas, and emotions in oboe and English horn repertoire. The repertoire to be explored is Six Metamorphoses by Benjamin Britten, English Horn and Harp Interlude in the Overture to Rob Roy Hector Berlioz, Parable for Solor English Horn by Vincent Persichetti, Two Fantasy Pieces by Carl Nielsen, Sonata for Oboe by Camille Saint-Saens, Pergolesi Suite – Sinfonia by Giovanni Pergolesi/Jean Oelrich, and Trio for Two Oboes and English Horn – Movement One by Ludwig Van Beethoven.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries