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Portfolio of Compositions

This portfolio is made up of eight works. Et Tu mixes both acoustic and electronic instruments. In addition to traditional compositional techniques it also utilizes digital effects as a means of enhancing the composition. Following that is a collection of four short piano etudes. These pieces were composed as studies of the Tone Clock theory, primarily as a means of acquainting myself with the principles behind the Tone Clock. The first etude, Tea with Chopin, is based on the third hour and utilizes a synthetic scale which I then harmonized to create a unique harmonic palette. Coffee with Beethoven is based on the second hour of the Tone Clock and relies heavily on the octatonic scale. Absinthe with Ligeti is based on the fourth hour. Unlike the previous etudes it is atonal and uses some very complex rhythms. The final etude, Early Morning Raindrops on a Misty Pond, is based on the ninth hour of the Tone Clock. The two hands of the piano play in a highly syncopated manner, creating a free flowing rhythmic texture. The way in which I used the Tone Clock in this piece, as well as its gesturing quality, provided the most insight into the composition of Symphony No. 2. Vengeance is a polystylist piece, blending popular and orchestral music. Through the use of vocals and spoken word it ponders the question of the nature of God and the place of religion in the world. The Call of Capistrano is a piece for solo classical guitar. It is based on sonata form and incorporates percussive elements such as striking the body of the guitar. The portfolio concludes with Symphony No. 2. It is contemporary in style, with little reference to the symphonic writing of the Classical and Romantic periods. Instead it draws inspiration from 20th century composers such as Lutoslawski and Penderecki. While all the pitches are strictly controlled there are many aleatoric sections where certain liberties can be taken with the rhythms notated and each family of the orchestra will not always play together as a unified section.
Type of thesis
Wragg, J. S. (2012). Portfolio of Compositions (Thesis, Master of Music (MMus)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/6642
University of Waikato
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