Timbre as a compositional device in selected band repertoire since 1950.
AuthorO'Neal, Thomas John.
Committee ChairHanson, Gregg
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractSince 1950, wind band repertoire has experienced accelerated change and growth. There has been a shift from orchestral transcriptions, in which wind instruments frequently have been used formulaically, to original compositions for wind band that explore new timbre possibilities. This study analyzes selected band pieces composed since 1950, paying particular attention to the use of timbre. Specific developments that are discussed, in addition to the change in band instrumentation, are the new emphasis on percussion, and the exploration of new instrument combinations and their resulting timbres. This study primarily focuses on Symphony in B-flat for Band (1951) by Paul Hindemith, Music for Prague 1968 by Karel Husa, and " ... and the mountains rising nowhere" (1977) by Joseph Schwantner. These pieces represent the efforts of renowned composers whose music is considered significant in band repertoire. Hindemith's Symphony in B-flat conforms to the standard instrumentation of the period, as dictated by the American Bandmasters Association in 1945. Husa's Music for Prague 1968 reflects considerable expansion of instrumentation, and expands the role of the percussion section. Schwantner's " ... and the mountains rising nowhere" marks a deliberate nullification of the standard instrumentation for which Hindemith and Husa composed. Even though these composers have continued to make traditional use of form and harmony, their experiments have made the band's instrumentation more flexible than that of the pre-1950 era. These composers have exploited expanded percussion writing and new combinations of instruments. The transition from a pre-determined instrumentation dictated by external influences (Hindemith), through an expansion of that standard (Husa), to a music that is freed from any instrumentation limitations (Schwantner) reflects increasing composer interest in timbre as a primary compositional element. Composers continue to experiment with the instrumentation of the band, excluding traditional instruments and adding others. They have created great flexibility in the size and make-up of wind band instrumentation and generated music that places timbre in a position of high priority.