School of Music


Master of Arts in Music Education (MA)


Thomas Goddard


composition, percussion, impressionist, extended harmony, film scoring, marimba, snare drum, constructivism, semiotics


Education | Music


The purpose of this lecture recital was to explore the substantive contributions of impressionist composition techniques in contemporary percussion literature. Research was conducted by means of harmonic, rhythmic, and melodic analysis of contemporary works for solo marimba, marimba and electronics, and snare drum and electronics, as well as background research on composers of those works. Percussion composers Russell Wharton, Ivan Trevino, and Ian T. Jones utilize modern technology in their compositions as well as compositional techniques stemming from the Impressionist movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In Impressionist composition, musical elements such as texture, non-pulsatic rhythm, and extended harmony are utilized to create a soundscape that convey emotion, mood, and setting. The successful communication of these impressions is also reliant upon shared cultural experiences and understanding, a phenomenon inherent to both the constructivist learning theory and the semiotic theory of signs, icons, and indices created by philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce. Semiotics was applied to musical context by Thomas Turino, a professor of musicology and anthropology in Music as Social Life. The works of Wharton, Trevino, and Jones are examples of modern percussion literature that accesses constructivist ideas, Impressionist techniques, and musical indices promulgated by western popular culture to convey emotional and imageable meaning.