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Pierre Mercure and the Contemporary: Reflections of Influence and Ideology in "Tétrachromie" (1963) Open Access


Other title
Umberto Eco
Canadian music
Darmstadt School
Klumpenhouwer Networks
musical analysis
Pierre Mercure
integral serialism
open work
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Triebel, Caitlyn M.
Supervisor and department
Ingraham, Mary (Music)
Examining committee member and department
Gramit, David (Music)
Moshaver, Maryam (Music)
Department of Music

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
This thesis surveys, through his use of integrated serialism in Tétrachromie (1963), Pierre Mercure’s interest in contemporary compositional ideologies as influenced by prominent composers with whom he came into contact through the 1950s and early 1960s. Although largely not recognised as a composer of serialism, Mercure (1927–1966) uses a complex system of serial preogranisation in Tétrachromie. In 1951, Mercure studied at the Tanglewood Institute with Luigi Dallapiccola, from whom he initially learned the twelve-tone method. The summer prior to composing Tétrachromie, he attended the Darmstadt Ferienkurse where he most notably studied with Pierre Boulez, Henri Pousseur, and Bruno Maderna. Numerous aesthetic ideologies that existed among these composers adhere to structural elements in Tétrachromie, including systems of intervallic control and row construction. In an analysis of Tétrachromie, the author discusses how Mercure may have created his 24-tone series, and how this series is applied through melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic means, using intervallic analysis, pitch-class-sets, and Klumpenhouwer Networks to garner information about the row. Each of the four sections of Tétrachromie has a unique combination of musical textures, each texture adhering to various levels of serial organisation based on the 24-tone prime row. The analysis also contains some remarks on style and aural response based on a recording of the work’s only performance in 1964.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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