Title

Inspiration and Expression: How Language Revealed My Music

Presenter Information

George Barker

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC Ballroom A

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Composition, Music, Translation

Abstract

This project is a musical response to a simple class assignment. Second-year German students were asked to analyze the syntactic and semantic elements of the poem “Vergnügungen” by German poet Bertolt Brecht. Following their analysis, students were asked to write their own poem; maintaining the form but not the content of the original Brecht poem. Through the poems, which speak of the pleasures of life, the viewer can observe the expression of diverse character traits, as well as common themes through each poem. When viewed collectively, the poetry exhibits the development of an individual through various stages in life. This observation formed the basis for a musical project, taking the spirit of the poetry and translating it into musical form. Specifically, the piece draws from three of the poems that were representative of the whole body of poetry. Each poem exhibited characteristics peculiar to three phases of life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The composition, drawing from the language of the poems, produces an auditory likeness of the development of an individual from youth through adolescence, to adulthood, emphasizing the differences in each stage through tempo and mode (i.e., shifting from major key to minor). While illustrating the differences in each phase of life, the piece emphasizes the unchanging and eternal aspects of an individual’s character through the use of repetition in chord structure and thematic development. The author will give an oral presentation of the project, and follow with a performance on the piano of the resulting piece.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Laurie Moshier

Department/Program

Accounting

Additional Mentoring Department

World Languages

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May 21st, 1:30 PM May 21st, 1:50 PM

Inspiration and Expression: How Language Revealed My Music

SURC Ballroom A

This project is a musical response to a simple class assignment. Second-year German students were asked to analyze the syntactic and semantic elements of the poem “Vergnügungen” by German poet Bertolt Brecht. Following their analysis, students were asked to write their own poem; maintaining the form but not the content of the original Brecht poem. Through the poems, which speak of the pleasures of life, the viewer can observe the expression of diverse character traits, as well as common themes through each poem. When viewed collectively, the poetry exhibits the development of an individual through various stages in life. This observation formed the basis for a musical project, taking the spirit of the poetry and translating it into musical form. Specifically, the piece draws from three of the poems that were representative of the whole body of poetry. Each poem exhibited characteristics peculiar to three phases of life: childhood, adolescence, and adulthood. The composition, drawing from the language of the poems, produces an auditory likeness of the development of an individual from youth through adolescence, to adulthood, emphasizing the differences in each stage through tempo and mode (i.e., shifting from major key to minor). While illustrating the differences in each phase of life, the piece emphasizes the unchanging and eternal aspects of an individual’s character through the use of repetition in chord structure and thematic development. The author will give an oral presentation of the project, and follow with a performance on the piano of the resulting piece.