Melbourne Conservatorium of Music - Theses

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    Music and criticism: a study of some trends during the twentieth century
    Samson, Patricia Woraine ( 1964)
    To spend time and energy in criticizing music the critic must value music highly. To criticize criticism implies also that one considers criticism of the arts worthwhile. The concert-goer who expects only that he shall enjoy a relaxing evening will probably not bother even to read the notes in his programme, and even if he does so. He will look for no more than a few technical sign posts to lessen his confusion if a work new to him is included in the programme. Such an attitude implies that its possessor dismisses music as an inessential luxury, and that he relegates the composer to the role of entertainer. Plainly, such a concert-goer does not value his music enough to discuss it. Fortunately he is not the only kind of person who listens to music, although he may be monomer than is often realized. His is certainly the easiest attitude to adopt, for to take music and criticism seriously involves much hard thought. The idea that art is a form of human communication is a widely accepted one. Most of the disputes which arise about this notion are concerned with the questions of what and how art communicates rather than whether it does so. Another way of looking at art is as a form of discipline: one cannot create in any artistic form, nor can one fully respond to a work or art, without the exercise of self-discipline, and the study of particular branches of the arts has long been recognized as a way to the achievement of a disciplined mind. The value of art lies in both of these aspects: in what it communicates and in the kind of activity it demands from those who take part in it. These two are inseparable – one cannot discuss the “content” of a work of art without discussing the means by which it is communicated, although, as we shall notice later, one can become involved in an arid discussion of the means alone. A musical work does not concern itself with conceptual thought, as many learned critics have noted. They hold that in this respect it differs from poetry, which can express concepts. They do not seem to have noticed that great poetry does not discuss ideas as philosophy does, but demands an emotional involvement, as painting and music do. All three arts also demand an intellectual involvement, but it is not of the strictly logical or syllogistic kind, even in reputedly “intellectual” poetry. Poetry and painting represent situations known to human beings by experience, in such a way that the expression of experience renders it comprehensible. (From Introduction)
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    An analysis of Margaret Sutherland's sonata for clarinet and piano (1947)
    Morgan, Ian McKeon ( 1984-12)
    The sonata for clarinet and piano by Margaret Sutherland has been selected as the subject for this thesis from a substantial list of sonatas by Australian composers. The choice was for two reasons: the sonata is the earliest surviving work for the combination and while not a major work, it is at least a substantial work by one of Australia’s most important composers. The work is written in a contemporary musical style, typical of its composer, so that it sounds fresh and musically challenging even in today’s musical environment.
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    The significance of percussion in contemporary music between 1945 and 1970
    Sablinskis, Paul V. ( 1981)
    Chapter one discusses the developments between 1900-1945, concentrating on composers’ growing concern for percussion instruments and percussive sound sources. Chapter two discusses trends between 1945-1970, revealing the particular relationship between the concepts of New Music and the material of percussion. Chapter three concentrates on a detailed discussion and analysis of four percussion works, which present examples indicative not only of the diverse range of percussion scores composed in the period but also of the connection between new ideas and percussion.
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    The first sixty years of music at St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne, c. 1887-1947
    Harvie, Paul ( 1983)
    The choral foundation of St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne is unique in Australia and one of very few outside the British Isles. The tradition of the Daily Office sung by a professional choir of boys and men has long existed in English cathedrals and collegiate chapels, but the transference of the tradition, even to British colonies in the nineteenth century, was anything but automatic. The revival of English choral music which had followed in the wake of the Oxford Movement earlier in the century must have provided considerable impetus at the time, but musical foundations were less easily set up in new places than maintained in the old ones. St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne was opened for worship on January 22, 1891 with a new organ partly installed, an organist newly arrived from England, and a surpliced choir seated in the chancel. The choral foundation had been conceived as an integral part of the cathedral from the start, for it was the wish of the Chapter that the cathedral use "conform as far as possible to what is understood as cathedral use in England". It is a mark of the confidence of early Melbourne that, before the building was finished, an organist could be appointed and a choir formed, the revenue for which would have to come from general funds not yet available. There were no endowed canonries and no endowments for a choir school. There was also no resident cathedral community, no residential canons, in fact no one who lived on the site at all. The Bishop's palace and the deanery were both some distance away, the precentor lived away and, since the school was not a boarding school, there were no masters living in the close. All of these things were to make the daily choral worship more difficult than in a traditionally appointed cathedral with close and canons houses, deanery and palace and perhaps even accommodation for the lay clerks. Such difficulties were the price to be paid for a new cathedral on a central site in a city area already established. The object of this study is to examine the background to, and early development of, the musical foundation of St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne up to the end of Dr.A.E.Floyd's time there as organist in 1947. The study is based largely on accounts in The Church of England Messenger, a limited number of cathedral records, and two A.B.C. radio broadcasts on A.E.Floyd. These have been supplemented to a small extent with conversations with surviving musical associates of Floyd. A fuller account must await less restricted access to the cathedral records and the availability of Dr. Floyd's papers and library which have recently passed into the hands of his son, Dr. John Floyd, of Mornington. (From Introduction)
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    Jean Calvin and the Genevan Psalter: a study of the Calvinist aesthetic and its application in the music of the Psalter
    Bishop, Dianne (Shirley Dianne) ( 1969)
    “Moreover, since the glory of God ought to shine in the several parts of our bodies, it is especially fitting that the tongue has been assigned and destined for this task, through singing and speaking.” Those words of Jean Calvin express his belief in the importance of music in the life of the Christian. It was a conviction which prompted him, as the leader of a new Protestant Church in Geneva, to define precisely the role which music should play in the Church, and it further motivated him to establish a musical repertoire that was in accordance with his beliefs. It is the aim of this thesis to examine his musical ideas, searching for features which are distinctive or unusual, in the context of sixteenth-century musical thought. It is then proposed to examine the application of the ideas in the Genevan Psalter, which, although it is largely forgotten, may still be viewed as a fitting monument of the reformer’s musical insight. Research in this field has not yet advanced to great lengths, but there is a growing awareness among scholars of the historical and musical importance of the psalter. In addition to a small amount of writing on Calvin's musical aesthetic, there are the studies of the psalter, begun in 1878 by Oretin Douen. As yet, these have been largely confined to bibliographical works and to publications of source material. (From Introduction)
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    Teaching the flute to young children using an approach based on the music educational principles of Zoltán Kodály
    O'Leary, Mark ( 1986)
    Recent developments in flute design have made it possible for children to begin tuition on the flute at the age of six or seven, some three or four years earlier than was previously possible. An examination of the flute teaching methods currently being used in Australia reveals however that existing methods of teaching do not adequately fulfil the musical and psychological needs of such young children. This dissertation sets out to demonstrate that the music educational principles of Hungarian composer, scholar and teacher, Zoltán Kodály, provide an excellent starting point for the development of a method designed specifically to meet the needs of young children. The bulk of this study is an examination of areas of importance to those teaching the flute to young children, and in the penultimate chapter, a Kodály-based flute method is outlined to demonstrate in practical terms how such a method may be structured.
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    Music in state-supported education in New South Wales and Victoria, 1848-1920
    Stevens, Robin Sydney ( 1978)
    This investigation considers the development of class music teaching in New South Wales and Victoria during the first seventy-two years of state-supported primary education. Looking firstly at the English background to this study, the principal music teaching methods (which resulted from the English choral singing movement of the mid-nineteenth century) as well as the subsequent development of music teaching in English elementary schools are discussed. The promotion of school music is then considered on a broadly chronological basis in each state and a number of themes are seen to emerge in relation to developments in school music policy and practice during the period. The major themes include such issues as whether music should be part of the ordinary school curriculum or an extra-curricular subject, whether musical instruction should be given by generalist or specialist teachers, and which method should be employed for teaching children to read music. Other major themes include the controversy between protagonists of the respective staff and tonic sol-fa notations, the issue of teacher training in music for ordinary class teachers, and the relationship of curriculum content to the aims and objectives of school music. In addition comparisons are made, and parallels drawn, between developments in both states and also between the respective states and school music in England. The final chapter demonstrates the relevance of many of the historical themes for music education today. There is a drawing together of the main themes which enables certain trends in school music policy and practice as well as certain problems and deficiencies which emerged during the period 1848-1920 to be clearly identified. These are then considered in relation to the contemporary school music scene. The findings are that certain aspects at present represent a continuation of former policies and practices while other aspects represent a departure from the traditions of the past. For example, the recent introduction of the "new" Kodaly method represents a continuation of the movable doh solmisation system which has in fact been a traditional feature of school music teaching in New South Wales since the nineteenth century. On the other hand, the phasing-out of prescribed music curricula in both states in favour of school-based curriculum planning represents an obvious departure from tradition. In addition there are certain problems and deficiencies in primary music education at present which have either persisted since 1920 or have re-emerged from the past. For example, the low priority afforded to music in the primary curriculum and the lack of musical competence among generalist teachers have become almost traditional features of primary education in both states. There is also a re-emergence of the problem of inadequate musical training for primary teachers in many pre-service teacher training courses at present. The thesis concludes by citing a recurring problem from the past, namely the lack of co-ordination between various aspects of school music policy, as the most serious problem to be overcome if primary school children are to receive effective and worthwhile music education in the future.
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    Symphony
    Douglas, Clive ( 1957)
    Music score: “ Submitted as supporting work to a Thesis for the Degree of Doctor of Music, University of Melbourne, March 1957.”
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    Analytical and aesthetic concepts in the work of Leonard B. Meyer
    Cumming, Naomi Helen ( 1987)
    This thesis argues that Meyer’s analytical and aesthetic thought are interdependent. Essential terms used in developing the theory of Emotion and Meaning in Music belong to the realm of private language. It is through the correlation of these terms with specific musical structures that the theory becomes accessible to verification. In his later analyses, put forward in The Rhythmic Structure of Music and Explaining Music, Meyer eliminates specific references to perceptual events. Instead he locates qualities produced by perception (for example ‘motion’ or ‘incompleteness’) in their intentional object, a musical structure. Aesthetic presuppositions remain in effect though descriptive language takes on the appearance of objectivity. Significant evidence of this is found in Meyer’s rejection of organicism and reappraisal of melody. An exposition of Meyer’s theories of rhythmic grouping and linear structure is included in the thesis for the purpose of clarifying his analytical methodology and use of graphic symbols. His concept of linear structure is distinguished from that of Heinrich Schenker. A comparison of their analyses of two works clearly demonstrates the consequences of Meyer’s aesthetic ideas, in that the ‘intentional object’ of his analyses is quite distinct from Schenker’s organically-unified structure. A final chapter discusses the ramifications of Meyer’s work for further discussions of the interrelationship between aesthetic ideas and analytical practices.
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    A critical study of the life and works of E. J. Moeran
    McNeill, Rhoderick John ( 1982)
    Ernest John Moeran (1894-1950) was the last prominent British folk song collector/composer in the short-lived British ‘Romantic-Nationalist’ tradition. Like his older contemporaries Vaughan Williams and Bax, Moeran was highly susceptible to the influence of his environment. In Moeran’s case, the topography of East Norfolk and County Kerry, as well as the folk songs of both regions, were important influences on his music. Moeran emerges as a warm, unsophisticated personality with the ability to make friends easily. However, he was also prone to periods of deep depression, poor health and impulsive heavy drinking. His lifestyle could be described as wayward and unsettled. Musically, Moeran was a comparatively late developer. His musicfirst came to the attention of the music public during the years 1923-1925. This early reputation was built largely on his songs, piano pieces, chamber works and short orchestral rhapsodies. Later, during the 1930's, he focused his attention on the composition of large scale orchestral works, beginning with the Symphony in G minor. By the time Moeran was 50, he was considered to be amongst the most significant British composers of his period. Rather than being an original innovative composer, it would seem in retrospect that Moeran assimilated many of the idioms of his time into his own personal style. For example, Moeran's stylistic characteristics include modal melodies and harmonies, added-note chords, semitonal voice-leading, complex chromaticism, chords built on superimposed fourths, frequent use of ostinatos, cross relations, parallel harmonic progressions and bitonal chords and passages. His most substantial works, especiallythe Symphony in G minor, the Concerto for Violin and Orchestra, the Sinfonietta and some of his chamber music and songs, are notable for their attractive, expressive themes and rich harmonic language. Compared with his better known contemporaries, Moeran emerges as a composer of secondary but, nevertheless, considerable importance. This thesis attempts to :(a) record Moeran's biography in as much detail as possible;(b) examine all of the composer's extant music, including some unpublished pieces.The appendices include a critical edition of over 300 Moeran letters, a Catalogue raisonne, and a section on manuscript sources.