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Title:Fusion of Musical Processes and Spirituality in Jonathan Harvey's Music: A Structure Analysis of Jonathan Harvey's Cello Concerto
Author(s):Hwang, Min-Li
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Tharp, Reynold
Department / Program:Music
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This analysis examines Jonathan Harvey's Cello Concerto (1990) through structural analysis from both theoretical and performative perspectives. It develops a gestural interpretation and an abstract narration that can explain the transformations of formal structures in order to explore the music's relationship with Harvey's spirituality. These interpretations elucidate the possibilities of the musical processes in the concerto, such as the interaction between the instrumental parts. The gestural analysis is expanded by relating gestures with form and the relationships between musical parameters. The harmonic language, such as the interactions between the multilayered harmonic units, the harmonic progression, the harmonic prolongation, and the harmonic rhythm, is one of the important bases of the gestural analysis. The other musical parameters analyzed in this undertaking include melodic contour, rhythm, instrumentation, and texture. The outcome of this analysis, including a graphic notation, indicates that the gestural interaction and abstract narration in the concerto express an ideal embodied by Harvey's spirituality, which he defines as a "transcending [of] dichotomies". An examination of the Middle Way (Madhyamaka) School of Mahayana Buddhism reveals this concept as well. First, the overall form of the piece corresponds to the process of Harvey's meditation practice, which leads to the co-existence of stillness and vividness, and the merging of subject and object. Second, many of the gestures in the concerto go beyond dualism in different ways. Third, the multilayered harmonic language in the concerto presents an ambiguity between individuality and integrity. Fourth, the "melodic chain" of the solo violoncello is dissolved in the last section, evoking the merging of subject and object. Harvey claims that music is both "a form of emptiness" and a "thought-[form]", which corresponds to the Buddhist Middle Way School's position: the co-existence of emptiness and conventional causation. The fusion of musical processes and spirituality is present on various levels of the concerto's structure and incorporates essential principles of Mahayana Buddhism (nirvana, compassionate wisdom, enlightenment, and Tathagata-garbha), which emphasize the interdependence of everything and transcend dualism.
Issue Date:2008
Description:130 p.
Thesis (D.M.A.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2008.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3314800
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2008

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