Table of Contents (Spring 2009)

A Reassessment of Madrigal Settings from Torquato Tasso's Gerusalemme liberata

Eric Schneeman

This paper examines 16th and 17th-century painters’ and composers’ poetic selection from Gerusalemme liberata in the context of Tasso’s literary criticism. By focusing on the romantic and pastoral interludes throughout Gerusalemme liberata, composers and painters downplayed the larger epic narrative thereby creating an antithetical paradigm to Tasso’s theories of epic and romance narratives. Yet composers such as Giaches Wert and Claudio Monteverdi found means of referring and alluding to the larger epic and the dialectic between romance and epic inherent in the poem.  First, this paper will outline Tasso’s literary theory and the role of romance in Gerusalemme liberata.  Second, by assessing parallel art historical developments and the cultural context of the sixteenth and seventeenth century, this paper will shed new light on the manner in which composers Wert and Monteverdi allude to Tasso’s larger epic narrative.


Music Notation Software: a Composer's Best Enemy?

Francis Kayali

Music Engraving and Performance Software (MEPS) programs such as Finale and Sibelius are now widely used by classical composers. Compared to composers who adopted MEPS later in their career, younger composers use the computer in an interactive fashion, using software functionalities with greater freedom, but also surrendering to constraints more easily. This paper examines the limitations and constraints of MEPS objectively, determining the potential impact of "surrender" on compositions produced. While some professionals (and also laymen) harbor doubts regarding the use of computers as compositional devices, rather than solely as music engraving tools, this paper lists specific strategies to counter most of the detrimental effects potentially associated with this process. Composition teachers interviewed for this paper found that music produced using MEPS tends to be no less aesthetically effective or valid than other music, which indicates either that MEPS users are able to circumvent pitfalls or that software limitations do not affect results negatively.


Digital Composer Archive: Alan Chan

Matthew Alan Thomas

This feature on DMA composition alumnus Alan Chan showcases five short films that chronicle Alan's interdisciplinary collaborations with visual artist Emily Mast, poet Nicky Schildkraut, and soprano Courtney Huffman. The series begins with a discussion of identity and concludes with an overview of his compositions for jazz ensemble.

“I’m redefining who I am rather than being defined.” - Alan Chan









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