STUDIES ON THEME AND ARCHITECTURE IN LA MONTE YOUNG'S 1987 THE WELL-TUNED PIANO
The two studies presented here investigate theme and form in La Monte Young’s The Well-Tuned Piano. The piece is one of the most significant and analyzed in his output, particularly the 1981 Gramavision recording. While writings about the composer’s work is relatively minimal, the 1987 DVD recording has received little to no scholarly attention. Furthermore, most studies of Young center around tuning, but hardly speak to his ability to shape time on a large scale or transform thematic material—the composer has a keen ability for both. These studies offer insights into such developments and an overview of the six hour work. In “The Fundamental Processes of Change,” I probe how Young varies his musical material in the 1987 recording of The Well-Tuned Piano through the lens of its most prominent motif: “The Theme of The Dawn of Eternal Time” (TODET). Through transcription, many avenues of transformation appeared including transposition, permutation, combination, etc. The specific names and time stamps found in the DVD booklet act as a score of sorts, and also lead a listener through the work. “Architectures of Intensity and Respite” investigates manifestations of Young’s material from a structural vantage point. Young uses opposing forces, intensity and respite, to craft a six hour experience. This study traces how these forces articulate a shape extending from the large-scale structure to smaller periods to phrases to themes to the interaction of two intervals. Aspects of theme and tuning are also integrated into this analysis and show how they drive the energy and shape of the piece.
Form; Piano; change; Musical composition; Music theory; Intesity; Respite; Theme
Ernste, Kevin M.
Piekut, Benjamin D.; Papalexandri-Alexandri, Marianthi
Doctor of Musical Arts
Attribution 4.0 International
dissertation or thesis
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Attribution 4.0 International