Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2018

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Muriello, John

First Committee Member

Swanson, Stephen

Second Committee Member

Martín-Estudillo, Luis

Third Committee Member

Puderbaugh, David

Fourth Committee Member

Wyman, Wayne

Fifth Committee Member

Platte, Nathan


This essay introduces readers to the music of the Venezuelan composer Modesta Bor (1926-1998) and provides a resource for interpretation of her art songs for voice and piano. Bor was an important composer in Venezuela with a successful career in composition, pedagogy, and conducting. However, she is not widely known outside of Venezuela and scholarship on her art song is limited. This study seeks to fill that void by examining Bor’s twenty-nine published art songs for solo voice and piano. These works include the song cycles/collections Tres canciones infantiles para voz y piano, Canciones infantiles, Primer ciclo de romanzas para contralto y piano, Segundo ciclo de romanzas para contralto y piano, Tríptico sobre poesía cubana, and Tres canciones para mezzo-soprano y piano, as well as nine ungrouped songs. Bor’s art songs are notable for her imitation of Venezuelan folk and popular music in the vein of Figurative Nationalism, her sophisticated harmonic language, and neoclassical techniques such as ostinato and motivic variation. This essay aims to help performers begin to understand the allusions to the national music of Venezuela. Her music elevates the llanero, the common rural laborer, and comments on the social issues of her people. This essay provides a brief history of Venezuelan music, a biography of Bor, and brief biographies of the poets used. It also contributes original poetic and musical analyses of her art songs, exploring the areas of form, melody, rhythm, and harmony. Venezuelan Spanish and the lyric diction appropriate for Bor’s songs are discussed. Poetic translations, word-for-word translations, and International Phonetic Alphabet transliterations are included for all of the poetry used.


joropo, Latin American art song, merengue, Spanish Diction, Venezuela, Women Composers


xviii, 367 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 352-367).


Copyright © 2018 Nicholas Edward Miguel

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