The use of the glissando in piano solo and concerto compositions from Domenico Scarlatti to George Crumb
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis document is a thorough study of the glissando throughout its chronological development, consisting of an examination of differences in the glissando's functions, types, and executions. Examples are extracted from piano solo and piano concerto compositions, which were written by composers from Domenico Scarlatti, born in 1685, to George Crumb, born in 1929. The glissando was used as a formal compositional device in the eighteenth century, beginning with the works of Domenico Scarlatti. It evolved from the Schleifer and was ornamental and occasionally melodic in function. Composers of the Classical period, like Ludwig van Beethoven and Carl Maria von Weber, expanded the device into octaves, which before the end of the nineteenth century was adopted by Bedrich Smetana, Johannes Brahms, and Mily Balakirev. Franz Liszt produced many two-hand and double-note glissandi, and his output of glissandi is the most numerous in the entire piano repertoire. In twentieth-century, Bela Bartok produced a dry effect in the glissando, while Prokofiev produced the most numerous glissandi in this century. Hindemith wrote an unusual form of black-and-white glissando; Tippett's example is of the "fanfare" effect; and Britten contributed many glissandi in a single work, to a degree perhaps exceeded only by Liszt's works. For nationalistic composers, like Manuel de Falla and Heitor Villa-Lobos, the glissando is a fine device to express the feeling of ethnic emotions, such as joyful and energetic. Besides, the use of the black-key glissando gives composers a fine application for impressionistic purposes, since its pentatonic orientation is easy to liken to images of nature: water, wind, etc. Such examples are found in the works of Claude Debussy, Maurice Ravel, and others. Nonetheless, it becomes less crucial in this harmonic consideration in the works of more recent composers, in whose works the concept of tone-clusters or just a "noise" is revealed. This thesis also includes two appendices, one contains a chart of 473 glissandi categorized by function, and the second, an original composition by the author, which includes numerous glissandi in various types.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance