Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name



Music Composition

Degree Program

Music with a concentration in Music Composition, MM

Committee Chair

Wolek, Krzysztof

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Satterwhite, Marc

Committee Member

Satterwhite, Marc

Committee Member

Speck, Frederick


In iet, the phonetic aspects of speech, as well as additional vocal noises, are employed in preference to more conventional semantic and syntactic values, derived from recognized language. The lack of pre-existing text removes the necessity to flesh out the skeleton of a pre-existing structure, and in turn creates the possibility of having a musical discourse in which each vocalization serves to modify the sound world of the piece in a specifically conceived manner. Thusly, the singers utilize only fragments of speech, uttering single syllables, as well as other more marginal vocal sounds such as audible breathing, and the smacking of the lips. Throughout iet, the instruments and vocalists are in constant discourse, both seeming to provoke and mimic one another’s actions. Vocal features such as breathing are imitated by instruments, as the mechanical and physical qualities of instrumental performance are mimicked by the voices. The physicality of the voice is occasionally externalized, as the singers strike the outside of the mouth, and cheeks. This imitative exchange, which evolves throughout the course of the work, creates a type of experiential non-language between the voices and the instruments. While being non-communicative, this exchange behaves with a certain kind of self-defining structural grammar.

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Composition Commons