Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Degree Name

MA (Master of Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Gompper, David K

Second Advisor

Cohen Elias, Sivan

First Committee Member

Gompper, David K

Second Committee Member

Cohen Elias, Sivan

Third Committee Member

Charles, Jean-François


Through Boundaries is a string quartet that attempts to recalibrate the way one listens by focusing on two spectrums, time and pitch. I explore what falls between the boundaries, in reference to the space between sound and silence and to frequencies between the conventional twelve pitches. The two movements are differing interpretations of the same graphical sketch material, viewing it from different perspectives.

I. In-Between is structured with short gestures that are juxtaposed with longer periods of time that lack notated sound. Each gesture represents an unnamed event. For example, one gesture may represent the toss of a ball and the next gesture may represent it bouncing against the concrete. Each of these is a discrete point. At first, the space between these points appears empty, but on deeper investigation, it is overflowing with movement and energy. Visually, the ball floats up and falls to the ground. The electronics represent this energy, slowly fading into perception and forming waves of sound that weave in and out, nearly overpowering the quartet.

II. Glide explores the interaction of pitches on a micro-level, including quartertones and glissandi that occupy a small pitch range. The movement begins with a still, seemingly static nature. Deviations appear, and harmonies seemingly blur and crystallize. When a larger melodic interval finally arrives, it is overwhelming.


gesture, glissandi, harmony, interval, music composition, quartertone


vi, 52 pages


Copyright © 2019 Lydia Dempsey

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