Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2015

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Huckleberry, Alan

First Committee Member

Lecuona, Rene

Second Committee Member

Tsachor, Uriel

Third Committee Member

Esposito, Nicole

Fourth Committee Member

Hand, Gregory


Sofia Gubaidulina is considered one of the most important Russian composers of our time. A Moscow Conservatory student who studied with Dmitri Shostakovich’s pupil Nicolai Peiko, Gubaidulina went on to compose many pieces for orchestra, chorus, chamber instruments, and solo instruments. Her piano works include Toccata-Troncata (1971) and Invention (1974), as well as the more famous Chaconne (1962), Sonata (1965), and the concerto Introitus (1978).

This essay will focus on a lesser-known piano work, Musical Toys (1969), consisting of fourteen pieces for children. Her intention in composing this collection of pieces was to present pictorial miniatures that she herself would have liked to play as a child. While these pieces create a unique sound quality with various imaginations that would be very appealing to children, my assessment of this work is that it would be quite difficult for children because of the pedal technique, frequent meter changes, accidentals, repeated notes, and irregular rhythmic subdivisions. My purpose is to examine how to help make this collection more accessible to young pianists.

There are three chapters in this essay. Chapter I is an introduction to Gubaidulina and to Musical Toys. Chapter II consists of a brief biography of Gubaidulina. Finally, in Chapter III, I discuss the technical challenges, and propose a pedagogical approach to, as well as the performance practice of, Musical Toys.


Gubaidulina, Musical Toys, Piano Pedagogy


xi, 115 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 112-115).


Copyright 2015 Seong-Sil Kim

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