Search ETDs:
Examining Contrasting Expressive Content within First and Second Musical Themes
Warrenburg, Lindsay Alison

2016, Master of Arts, Ohio State University, Music.
Musical themes offer some of the most memorable parts of a musical work and have been a subject of interest in the study of music theory for centuries. In this thesis, contrasts between first and second musical themes are discussed, drawing from ideas in music theory and empirical musicology. The aim is to examine the construction of first and second musical themes. The thesis begins with a discussion of musical themes from the perspective of music theory. Next, a corpus study of over one thousand musical works was conducted, which chronicles differences between pairs of first and second themes. Features examined include the use of structural expressive features such as mode, rhythmic smoothness, interval size, articulation and dynamic markings, and durational pace. The results of the corpus study are consistent with the hypothesis that musical themes that appear first in a piece of music are more likely to be strong or energetic than are musical themes that appear second. In order to test whether listeners are sensitive to these structural differences, a perceptual study was conducted to examine whether musicians could discriminate between pairs of musical themes outside of the original musical context. The study was designed as a two-alternative forced-choice task and used both recorded and notated excerpts. The results are consistent with the hypothesis that listeners are able to differentiate between first and second themes using surface level features of the musical stimuli. The results of the task therefore provide some insight into which musical and acoustic factors are perceived by musicians in both visual and auditory settings. The study concludes with a discussion about how the results might contribute to the conversation about musical themes from the perspective of music theory and musicology.
David Huron (Advisor)
Johanna Devaney (Advisor)
Eugenia Costa-Giomi (Committee Member)
146 p.

Recommended Citations

Hide/Show APA Citation

Warrenburg, L. (2016). Examining Contrasting Expressive Content within First and Second Musical Themes. (Electronic Thesis or Dissertation). Retrieved from https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Hide/Show MLA Citation

Warrenburg, Lindsay. "Examining Contrasting Expressive Content within First and Second Musical Themes." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. OhioLINK Electronic Theses and Dissertations Center. 19 Feb 2017.

Hide/Show Chicago Citation

Warrenburg, Lindsay "Examining Contrasting Expressive Content within First and Second Musical Themes." Electronic Thesis or Dissertation. Ohio State University, 2016. https://etd.ohiolink.edu/

Files

Lindsay Masters Thesis 2016.pdf (14.18 MB) View|Download