In Response to Civil Unrest: An Analysis of Compositional Techniques as Used by Contemporary Composers for Flute
School of Music
Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)
flute, civil unrest, oppression, composer, composition methods, extended technique, critical pedagogy, composer experience, electronics, mixed media, fixed audio, politics, protest
Education | Music
Strait, Stephanie Marie, "In Response to Civil Unrest: An Analysis of Compositional Techniques as Used by Contemporary Composers for Flute" (2023). Masters Theses. 1013.
The purpose of this applied research study was to identify a selection of works for flute that were composed in response to circumstances of civil unrest to discover how the composers utilized the flute as a medium for expression, and to study the compositional techniques used to communicate with the performer. These techniques were explored and demonstrated in a lecture recital. Gaining insight and understanding of the compositional process as it relates to the composers’ experiences aids the performer in offering a convincing and informed rendering of these pieces. It also contributes to the body of literature regarding composition methodology, particularly for flute, and provides recognition for any atypical methods of sound creation and communication utilized in these pieces. Repertoire for this project included six selections from five living composers who were interviewed regarding their compositions. This study identified a correlation between the use of improvisation and emotional expression in composition. It also identified trends of using or creating extended techniques to provide a more literal or emotionally expressive interpretation of their topics and tendency to incorporate technology, mixed media, and fixed audio. All composers in this study demonstrated a history of being active politically, establishing a link between music and social and historical events. This study demonstrated a lacking in formal musical training to address the use of technology and electronics in applied music adequately for the modern performer. Further research of similar dynamics in compositions across musical disciplines or over a variety of compositional eras could determine what trends exist across instrumental barriers, and how those results have changed over time.