Theses Doctoral

Partial Displacement: En/decoding Spectral Thinking in Tristan Murail’s Mémoire/Érosion, and Two Compositions for String Quartet

Lo, Shih-Wei

This dissertation is comprised of a paper on Tristan Murail’s Mémoire/Érosion (1976) and a pair of my compositions—R[o/u]LE(s) for string quartet with percussion instruments (2016) and Projectile Motion (2018) for string quartet. The paper endeavors to draw attention to the rich, individualized voices within the French spectralist movement during its emerging phase, exemplifying various paths of en/decoding spectral thinking with Murail’s Mémoire/Érosion. In view of the interdisciplinary essence of spectralism, my analytical approach extensively adapts theories, research findings, and a posteriori knowledge from fields such as psychology, computer technology, and marketing so as to diversely reason how spectral thinking may be en/decoded by maneuvering information harnessed from the (pseudo-)spectral sources while interpreting the resultant perceptions. In comparison to the theme of the paper, which is heavily centered on pitch manipulation, the two compositions downplay such a musical dimension in varying degrees for different purposes. First, passive in nature and magnified by the incorporations of the percussion as well as the strings’ scratch tones, the reduced presence of pitch in R[o/u]LE(s) signals an attempt to navigate and investigate the topic of (Taiwanese) identity. Second, actively suppressed, pitch in Projectile Motion virtually becomes residual traces left by the heightened impulses of gesture, which, apart from being where the music largely gains its momentum, can be viewed as an expression of reflecting on issues of intimacy, accessibility, and cultural implications that contemporary music elicits in relation to a valued sector of my personal sphere.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Thesis Advisors
Lewis, George E.
D.M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
February 23, 2021