An exploration of Olivier Messiaen's piano style and application of color in "Le baiser de l'Enfant-Jesus" and "Le courlis cendre"
AuthorDukes, Leslie Dianne
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.
AbstractThis study includes discussion and clarification of the phenomenon of synesthesia and its significance in Messiaen's compositional technique. Messiaen described chords as "sound complexes," and maintained that complexes of sound, not the individual tone, produces color. The composer created sounds intended to evoke visual perceptions of specific colors. His color-music concept is discussed through examination of two pieces from his works for solo piano, Le baiser de l'Enfant-Jesus (from Vingt regards sur l'Enfant-Jesus, XV), and Le courlis cendre (from Catalogue d'oiseaux, XIII). This study demonstrates that within Messiaen's piano repertory there is internal consistency in his use of pitch, register, harmony, mode, rhythm, timbre, and texture to suggest light and color in music. Messiaen's extra-musical references to color may be literal or metaphorical. However subjective the composer's inspiration of sound/color/light may be for a work's inception, the compositional devices used are exacting, substantive, and phenomenological.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Music and Dance