Space and Voice: Compositions for Contemporary Cello
Brubeck, Charles Matthew
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This dissertation contains a diverse portfolio of ensemble and solo compositions for contemporary cello. Throughout the accompanying paper, the concepts space and voice are utilized as analytical lenses, as they are central to my compositional approach. The evolution of cello space in Western art music is contrasted with cello space in jazz, and the modes of sound production in the classical cello tradition are compared to the voice of the jazz cello. While examining jazz cello voice, the notion of idiomatic improvisation is considered and the paper turns to original research regarding the recordings of Harry Babasin, Oscar Pettiford, and Fred Katz, who introduced the cello as an improvising instrument to the jazz genre. The remainder of the written component focuses on my composition process and aesthetic considerations. Composition and improvisation are treated as distinct but interrelated points along a continuum of creative music practice. Within the composition process, improvisation is used to generate musical materials, and various methods of structuring pieces to incorporate improvisation are employed. Commentaries on the composition process, including the salient features pertaining to space and voice, are included for each score.