Author

Aaron Basch

Date of Award

2013

First Advisor

Larry Wallach

Second Advisor

John Myers

Abstract

This thesis is a series of three instrumental music compositions for small ensembles and solo piano. The goal in writing these pieces was quite simply to create good music. Much of the thesis process was an attempt to understand the essence that makes music beautiful, exciting, powerful, and transcendental. To do that I spent a lot of time thinking, internally exploring the music I found myself surrounded by day-to-day, and so in this thesis I include a philosophical reflections chapter on aesthetics, attempting to articulate the essence of good music and good art in general. Additionally, I immersed myself and studied deeply three musical pieces that I felt achieved the above-mentioned aspects of truly good music in ways I wished to emulate or derive inspiration from. These include Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis, Claude Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, and the second movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G Major.

The first piece I wrote was a piano quartet; scored for piano, violin, viola, and cello. The second piece was a sextet; scored for piano, flute violin, viola, cello, and double-bass. The third and final piece was for solo piano. This all culminated in a very successful final performance, which I conducted. vi

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Ask at the Alumni Library Circulation Desk for the companion piece.

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