Theses Doctoral

Whence We Come, Whither We Go: Return and Renewal in Lineage for Large Orchestra

Di Castri, Sophia

This paper presents a conceptual and musical analysis of my composition Lineage, an eleven-minute work for large orchestra, written in 2013 for the New World Symphony and the San Francisco Symphony. Lineage takes as its premise the imagining of faux-folkloric music from a fictitious, distant culture. It engages with the idea of my artistic and personal ancestry, and revolves around the concept of return through the reworking of my own material, the re-contextualization of and linkage to past music traditions, and the repetition and transformation of musical material. I discuss the meaning behind the music, the choice of source material, and my compositional process, including descriptions of how I use technology. I place my work in relation to other composers who have revisited material, including Pierre Boulez, Yan Maresz, and György Ligeti. I also compare Lineage to Phonotopographie, my 2012 work for chamber ensemble that is closely related. The theoretical analysis involves an in-depth explanation of formal concerns, compositional techniques such as polyphonic and resonant usages of stratification, harmonic and pitch material from traditional, microtonal, and spectral sources, and finally rhythm. I conclude with a brief discussion on sideshadowing and temporal openess, a literary concept developed by Gary Saul Morson. I propose that the use of digital audio workstations (DAWs) as a compositional tool may provide composers with a form of musical sideshadowing - a way of understanding the plurality of possibilities present, while contemplating the global formal design.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Lerdahl, Alfred W.
D.M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
July 16, 2014