Title

COMPOSITIONAL AND SCORING PRACTICES FOR PERCUSSION IN SYMPHONIES WRITTEN FOR CONCERT BAND: 1950--1970

Date of Completion

January 1981

Keywords

Music

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the various roles of the percussion section in symphonies written for winds and percussion and to determine how and to what extent composers employ the percussion in these works.^ Eleven categories of percussion usage were established patterned after those of Reginald Smith Brindle: contrapuntal melody, Klangfarbenmelodie, solo melody, doubled melody, harmony (supporting), harmony (obscuring), color, dynamic and rhythmic reinforcement, independent compositional and scoring dimension, fusion, and ostinato.^ Eight symphonies were examined representing works composed within a twenty-year time frame including those of Gunther Schuller (1950), Thomas Beversdorf (1953), Vincent Persichetti (1956), Alan Hovhaness (1959), Warren Benson (1962), John Bavicchi (1965), W. Francis McBeth (1969), and Will Gay Bottje (1971).^ The results of the analysis were compared with existing texts on band scoring by Leidzen, Lang, and Wagner, and with texts written specifically about percussion scoring.^ The results suggested that percussion was used more prominently than scoring texts indicated and that more traditional roles were used less often than indicated. The rank order of variable usage from most frequent to least frequent is as follows: Ostinato (18.59%), independent scoring dimension (16.84%), rhythmic and dynamic reinforcement (16.58%), color (13.62%), Klangfarbenmelodie (9.81%), doubled melody (7.97%), harmony (6.03%), solo melody (3.56%), contrapuntal melody (2.18%), fusion (0.82%), and harmony-obscuring (0.07%).^ The text contains numerous examples demonstrating all of the possible percussion usages defined in the study. ^