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Harry Somers’ String Quartet No. 2: An Analytical Study of the Idea of Unification Open Access


Other title
Set Theory
Musical Space
Transformational Theory
Canadian Composition
Multiplicative Operation
Harry Somers
String Quartet No. 2
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Eldon, Benjamin R
Supervisor and department
Moshaver, Maryam (Department of Music)
Examining committee member and department
Gramit, David (Department of Music)
Ingraham, Mary (Department of Music)
Tessier, John (Department of Music)
Department of Music

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Harry Somers’ music of the 1940s and 1950s presents a wide range of historical and contemporary compositional influences. This historical syncretism is widely understood in stylistic terms as the juxtaposition of heterogeneous tonal and atonal idioms representing a musical past and present. In contrast to this descriptive convention, I consider Somers’ musical output during this period under the rubric of a unification of musical styles as evident in String Quartet No. 2 (1950). Set-theoretical and transformational methodologies permit me to investigate a poetics that emerges through the persistence of two distinctly identifiable sets of intervals: 1, 11 and 5, 7. This mathematical modelling approach to analysis reveals numerous formative aspects of the intervals in a broad range of musical parameters including thematic design, formal organization, projective network structures, and symmetry seen through the lens of multiplicative operations and network comparisons of distinct pitch-class collections across two different interval spaces.
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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