Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
The purpose of this dissertation is to create a catalog of the published, solo vocal songs of 25 living American composers. Through this project, visibility will be given to a significant amount of contemporary literature that is currently unknown and / or underused by many singers and voice teachers today. Exposure to the literature in this project will encourage singers and teachers to give deserving attention to a wealth of contemporary American song literature, and will help to stimulate the study, practice and performance of other contemporary songs and composers. I have selected 25 living American composers. The composers represent a variety of compositional styles, and the songs vary in level of difficulty. The songs chosen are examined based upon criterion for vocal study at the collegiate level, and the entire repertoire is appropriate for traditional classical vocal training. Many of these composers' songs are readily available in public and collegiate libraries across the country. There are some composers, however, whose songs are currently not available in libraries, but are deserving of attention. The unpublished songs of the selected composers are not included because the purpose of this project is to increase accessibility. The composers for this dissertation include: Dominick Argento, Daniel Asia, Robert Baksa, Seymour Barab, Jack Beeson, William Bolcom, John Bucchino, Tom Cipullo, John Corigliano, John Frantzen, Zina Goldrich and Marcy Heisler, Ricky Ian Gordon, Daron Hagen, John Harbison, Jack Heggie, Lee Hoiby, Richard Hundley, Anne Kilstofte, Lori Laitman, Libby Larsen, John Musto, Thomas Pasatieri, Andre Previn, Gene Scheer, and Richard Pearson Thomas.
The body of the dissertation consists of a brief biography of the individual composers followed by analyses of the composers' music. Each published song is analyzed according to a set of criterion for vocal study at the collegiate level. The annotations include: title, poet, publisher and date, dedication, vocal range, tessitura, recommended voice type, level of difficulty of the vocal and piano accompaniment, possible uses, brief musical and textual description, and other pertinent information for the study and performance of the music. This dissertation will encourage the study, practice and performance of contemporary American music. The annotated catalog will include vital information for the quick selection of songs, and the information I compile will be invaluable to singers and voice teachers searching for contemporary American literature. The composers included in this project will also benefit from the exposure of their work. There are, of course, many more composers whose songs are deserving of inclusion in this project. Annotated catalogs of larger scope or of differing perspectives should be created as further study.
American, Composers, Contemporary, Literature, Songs, Vocal
Copyright 2011 Sarah Elizabeth Snydacker