Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2016

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Swanson, Stephen

First Committee Member

Eberle, Katherine

Second Committee Member

Muriello, John

Third Committee Member

Wyman, Wayne

Fourth Committee Member

Platte, Nathan


The purpose of this essay is to introduce readers to the music of living American composer Gabriela Lena Frank (b. 1972) through her chamber vocal works and to provide a resource to aid in the interpretation and performance of her music. Frank is an internationally recognized composer with a thriving career. However, she is not widely known among singers and teachers of singing and scholarship on her music is quite limited. This study seeks to fill that void by examining Frank’s published works as of January 2016 for solo voice and up to six instruments. These works are Cuatro Canciones Andinas (1999), for mezzo-soprano and piano; New Andean Songs (2008), for soprano, mezzo-soprano, two percussionists, and two pianos; Seven Armenian Songs (2013), for soprano, percussionist, and solo violin; and Honey (2013), for soprano, mezzo-soprano, and piano. Frank’s chamber vocal pieces are excellent additions to the repertoire and notable for Frank’s chamber music aesthetic, choice of diverse texts and languages (English, Spanish, and Armenian), dramatic storytelling, range of musical colors, and idiomatic writing for the performers. Frank’s ongoing exploration of her Peruvian heritage is reflected in two of these works, which draw inspiration from Andean folk music and poetry. This essay provides a brief biography of Frank; original poetic and musical analyses of the four works, exploring the areas of poetry, form, melody and motive, text painting, rhythm, harmony, folk influences, vocal writing, instrumental writing, timbre, range, and tessitura; and a summary of stylistic traits as seen across this sample. Poetic and word for word translations of foreign language texts, pronunciation guidelines for Latin American Spanish and International Phonetic Alphabet transliterations for the Armenian poems are included.


Chamber Music, Contemporary Music, Female Composers, Frank, Gabriela Lena, Songs


xii, 319 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 309-319).


Copyright © 2016 Lisa Rose Julianna Neher

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