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Theses Doctoral

Convergence Lines: A Musical Distillation of Thomas Pynchon’s V.

Trapani, Christopher Michael

This dissertation consists of two parts: Convergence Lines, my twenty-four-minute composition for ten instruments and electronics, and this subsidiary essay. Convergence Lines was written in 2013 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the publication of Thomas Pynchon’s V. At the center of this discussion is my creative process in imagining a musical corollary to Pynchon’s fictional world: his large cast of vivid characters, far-flung settings, and disjointed sense of time. I also detail my attempt to fashion a formal parallel to the novel’s unorthodox structure of two independent strands of narrative that converge towards the end. I discuss the role of allusion in Pynchon’s work and in my own, and the various points of reference the music is meant to invoke. A second important topic is the role of electronics in the composition, presenting both a technical analysis of the tools employed and an aesthetic perspective, considering how the intrusion of non-acoustic sounds mirrors a central theme of V.: the gradual replacement of the animate by the inanimate. The thesis endeavors to explain from a composer’s perspective, and in an integrated, organic manner, the poetic, musical, and technical aspects behind my work.

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More Information

Academic Units
Music
Thesis Advisors
Lerdahl, Alfred W.
Degree
D.M.A., Columbia University
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