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

  • Author / Creator
    Eldon, Benjamin R
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Spring 2014
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Master of Arts
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
  • Department
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Ingraham, Mary (Department of Music)
    • Tessier, John (Department of Music)
    • Gramit, David (Department of Music)